Pennsylvania's Zippo lighter factory lays off 38 workers

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 15, 2017 9:05 AM

FILE PHOTO: A pattern is etched onto the surface of Zippo lighters at the Zippo Manufacturing Co. factory in Bradford.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

*This story has been updated to include Zippo's employment figures*

(Bradford) -- Pennsylvania's iconic Zippo lighter factory has laid off 38 workers, blaming a slowdown in the company's North American business and a glut of inventory in China.

Mark Paup, Zippo Manufacturing Co.'s president and CEO, says the company used to ship its product to China through a Hong Kong importer.

Zippo is based in Bradford, about 130 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and now has 533 workers.

But the company stopped doing that because of problems with black market and gray market lighters in China.

Black market lighters are counterfeits, whereas gray market refers to legitimate Zippo lighters that are shipped to China outside legal import rules.

The company took over importing to China and last year had a boom in production to fill that demand, but now Paup says the company has determined it has too much inventory there.

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