The East Coast Seafood Group has announced that the Garbo Lobster facility in Groton, Connecticut, will shut down Thursday, potentially sending some of its work to Maine.

Garbo, which has a Maine processing facility in Hancock, southeast of Bangor, has been in Connecticut for 36 years, and also has a facility in Canada.

“The company is working with the employees affected by the closure of the facility to ensure a smooth transition for all,” East Coast Seafood Group, which is based in Topsfield, Massachusetts, said in a statement emailed to The Day newspaper in New London. “The company will work with affected employees if matched with an open position in one of its other facilities.”

East Coast Seafood Group said the “lobster packing operation will be absorbed into the company’s other facilities throughout the Northeast” and that “the company’s service quality commitment to its customers will not be impacted by the closure in any way.”

The Garbo facility in Groton, which shipped more than 100,000 pounds of lobster a day during peak holiday seasons, was founded by Dave Garbo in 1983, and the business was purchased a few years ago by East Coast Seafood for $20 million.

East Coast did not specify a reason for the closure. However, during a summer visit from their congressman, company representatives said the 25 percent tariffs imposed by China on lobster imports hit the company hard.

At the time, General Manager Chris Brown said that once the tariffs were imposed, it was like a light switch. “Overnight, we got the phone calls to cancel,” Brown said.

He said those orders, which had been consistent for years at around 150,000 pounds per week during the Chinese New Year, had not returned.

Brown said the company delivers to retailers and markets from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Most of the product passing through Groton this season comes from lobstermen who deliver to Garbo Lobster’s facilities in Maine and Nova Scotia.


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