EVERETT — Funko, the Everett-based pop culture toy maker, expects to lay off about a quarter of its global workforce over the next few months to try to stanch the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Companywide, Funko employs about 1,000 people in the United States, Europe and Asia, including hundreds of workers at its corporate headquarters in downtown Everett and distribution warehouses near Paine Field.
The company, best known for its Pop figurines, announced the layoffs this week in a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
In the U.S., Funko employs about 750 people at stores, warehouses and offices in Everett; San Diego; Hollywood; Chatsworth, California; and other locations.
Another 260 are employed in Europe and Asia, according to a 2019 annual report.
The layoffs, which would affect about 250 employees, are an attempt to “reduce costs and preserve liquidity in response to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in the regulatory filing.
Funko expects to incur about $1 million in charges related to employee termination benefits, the filing said.
“The majority of the workforce reduction will occur by the end of the second quarter of 2020 (June 30) and the remainder by the end of the third quarter of 2020 (September 30),” Funko said.
The company declined to comment on how many Everett-area employees might be affected.
“Today, we announced organizational restructuring in response to the unprecedented and uncertain times we are all experiencing,” Jessica Piha-Grafstein, a company spokeswoman, said in an email.
“These difficult decisions will allow Funko to continue to serve our fans, customers and partners,” Piha-Grafstein said.
The giant display windows at Funko’s flagship store at 2802 Wetmore Ave. in Everett were boarded up this week in what appeared to be a precautionary measure against break-ins.
Funko closed retail stores in Everett and Hollywood earlier this spring in response to the pandemic and state directives that banned non-essential commerce, but employees at the Everett distribution center continued filling online orders. Workers at the downtown headquarters were allowed to work from home.
At the time, some Funko warehouse workers questioned the toy maker’s decision to stay open during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In response, company executives said it was important to keep Funko’s critical supply chain moving and that doing so supported “the movement of goods to facilitate the Seattle-Tacoma supply chain.”
Many of Funko’s products, manufactured overseas, travel by cargo ships to the Port of Tacoma, where the containers are unloaded and then trucked to the Everett warehouse.
Mike Becker founded the company in 1998 in a Snohomish garage. Early products included bobblehead dolls and coin banks based on cereal advertising mascots and other retro characters.
The company opened the Everett headquarters in the old Bon Marche building downtown in 2017. That same year, Funko went public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol FNKO.
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods