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ConAgra begins eliminating jobs; local business owners concerned

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One of Northumberland County's biggest employers recently started eliminating jobs.

Company leaders at ConAgra say it's all in an effort to stay competitive.

ConAgra says between 140-150 people will lose their jobs at the Milton facility.

That news doesn't sit well with many small business owners, who say the layoffs are already affecting their bottom line.

Mario Bua is a small business owner in Milton.

He's owned The Original Italian Pizza and Restaurant here on Broadway for 24 years.

"Once a week they come for big order, and I don't even see it no more, that big order. So, it's money missing," Bua said.

Bua says before the layoffs began, his small restaurant used to be packed with ConAgra employees for lunch and dinner.

"Just a few people now. I sat 10 people now I'm missing about five to six people," he added.

In June, ConAgra announced they would gradually begin eliminating 140-150 positions at the end of the summer.

The Milton plant is one of Northumberland County's largest employers.

It manufactures food, like Chef Boyardee.

Jason Letteer works at Pizza Town, which has stood directly across the street from the plant for nearly 40 years.

"Some of the guys used to come in after work, they don't come in after work because they're not there. It's unfortunate, but big business is big business I guess," Letteer said.

These two pizza shops sit on opposite sides of town, but have been here for a combined total of 54 years.

They may be the exception.

"Small businesses around here, you just see them dry up. Every year there's new businesses that go out of business. There's some new places that have started, but ultimately there's not too many of us around," he added.

Both hope local leaders are able to attract more big businesses to the area in the coming years before more small businesses find themselves shutting their doors.

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