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Meow Wolf to cut 54 jobs in Las Vegas

Updated April 17, 2024 - 9:04 am

The company that developed Omega Mart at Area 15 is cutting dozens of jobs at the off-Strip attraction.

Announced in a memo from company CEO Joe Tolosa and first reported by Santa Fe New Mexican of Santa Fe, the company’s headquarters, Meow Wolf is cutting 54 positions in its Meow Wolf Workers Collective union in Las Vegas.

In all, the company is cutting expenses by 10 percent, or 165 people total. The company and union are still negotiating a collective-bargaining agreement.

Employees were notified via e-mail Tuesday morning. Layoffs are to come down Wednesday. Word from Omega Mart officials is the cuts will not affect hours or operations at Area15.

From Tolosa’s statement, as issued by Omega Mart officials in Las Vegas:

“Today, Meow Wolf notified our colleagues that we will soon be cutting expenses by 10% and reducing our workforce by 165 people company-wide in order to right-size the business to ensure future success. When we opened our first exhibitions, we were inventing an operating model from scratch. Over the past three years, we’ve developed a better understanding of our guests and what we need to staff and support our exhibitions in order to make the most of the growth opportunities ahead, including our Houston location that opens later this year.

“Saying goodbye to friends and colleagues who have been a big part of Meow Wolf’s success to date will not be easy. We are grateful for their contributions, both creatively and to our community. And we are committed to supporting everyone through this transition as we move forward.”

The employees being cut are from the arts company’s Santa Fe, Texas, Colorado and Nevada operations.

Tolosa also stated the company’s plans for those losing their jobs, writing, “We will be offering a comprehensive separation package, including severance payments tied to years of service, extended healthcare coverage and outplacement services for career support, in addition to other resources. We also have deep relationships with many arts and culture organizations within our communities, and we will leverage these connections to help assist those looking for new opportunities. And if an appropriate role comes up in the future at Meow Wolf, all impacted will be eligible for rehire.”

The announcement arrives four years to the day that Meow Wolf laid off 201 employees at the start of COVID-19 (cuts that did not involve the Las Vegas venue, which opened in February 2021).

Even so, Tolosa says, “Expansion is still an important part of our business strategy, and these changes will enable us to continue to grow in a way that is smart and sustainable.”

Omega Mart is the main attraction and primary tenant at Area 15, with Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin as one of its financial backers. The experience is theatrical and immersive with 250 projects from 325 art, music and digital creators.

The 52,000-square-foot attraction is a vast grocery mart and big-box store at the front, offering such items as Mammal Liquid, Plausible Deniability Laundry Detergent and What Is the True Essence of Butter. All of it is for sale. The store is built with several portals, leading to a community of workers and artists from around the world.

Omega Mart is the second large-scale Area 15 venue this month to suffer from economic concerns. Lost Spirits Distillery, which occupies in its own separate annex, announced April 4 it would shut down April 30. The company had not overcome debt after opening during the COVID reopening in July 2021.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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