Part of Nesta Woolf's family is moving to Pennsylvania, and she is starting her life all over, just like almost 100 other residents of this Upper Snake River Valley community.
Diet Center's Headquarters in Rexburg closed Friday. It reopens Monday in Pittsburgh."They called it a Diet Center family, and it really has been for me," said Woolf, who has been with the company for more than 10 years. She will work as a secretary at another Rexburg business.
Company officials announced the move almost three months ago, giving employees time to find other work or enter job training programs.
Diet Center is an international chain of weight loss clinics started by Sybil Ferguson in her Rexburg home more than 20 years ago.
Only two Rexburg employees are transferring to Pittsburgh with the company. Some will commute to Pittsburgh through March to assist in training the new staff, said Jim Liljenquist, Diet Center spokesman.
The move comes as a result of Diet Center's contract with Pittsburgh-based General Nutrition Centers to provide management and consulting services. GNC will provide Diet Center with an experienced management team, manufacturing plants, a distribution center and computer information systems.
To avoid duplication of GNC services and facilities, Diet Center officials chose to relocate its headquarters.
The move left most Diet Center employees sad and disappointed. Many watched the company grow from a living-room operation to a multimillion-dollar corporation over the past 20 years.
"It is awful to see it go," Woolf said. "But things happen and you have to pick up your life and go on from there."
Almost half of the Diet Center employees have found other jobs in eastern Idaho, said Linda Reilly, a job service consultant in Rexburg.
Others are undecided about their future. Some are looking for work or considering job training programs.
Diet Center employees are eligible for federal funds set aside to assist people seeking work after plant closures, Reilly said. The money will pay for some training programs.
A smaller number have shown an interest in continuing their education, with some attending night classes and others waiting for admission to a one-or two-year college program, she said.
Diet Center has gone out of its way to make the transition easier for its employees, Reilly said.
"When you lose a job, it is never easy," said Alan Webb, former Diet Center employee who will now work full-time in his own communication consulting business. "It is difficult, but most are upbeat about the future."
For Liljenquist, who became Diet Center's ninth employee in 1978, the move is an opportunity to start a new professional life.
"My future is in my hands," he said. He said he will be commuting to Pittsburgh until March to help train the Pennsylvania staff; after that, he's not yet sure what he will do.