Opryland Layoffs Follow Flood

The waters have receded but a Nashville mainstay continues to struggle to stay afloat following early May flooding that ravaged several historic sections of Music City.

Gaylord Entertainment announced during a recent investor call that the company plans to lay off 1,743 employees during restoration efforts at the Gaylord Opryland Resort, the Grand Ole Opry and other Nashville facilities.

“We are deeply sorry to have to make this incredibly difficult decision as our employees are and have always been the driving force behind the success of our business,” CEO Colin Reed said during the call. “The cost of this disaster has meant that we have to balance the future of our business and fiduciary duty to our shareholders with the duty we have to our employees.”

Restorations to the facilities are expected to cost between $215 million and $225 million. Reed explained the company had to manually test every aspect of its mechanical, electrical, information technology and power generating systems in order to uncover the extent of damages.

“There is an entire city of infrastructure which operates under the Gaylord Opryland campus, the majority of which was fully under water, and thus the assessment process has been extensive,” he said.

Specific restoration efforts at the Grand Ole Opry include the replacement of the stage, pews, artist dressing rooms, curtains, rigging, mechanical and power systems. The Ryman Auditorium’s breakout space at the Opryland Resort, the hotel lobby, three restaurants, 117 guestrooms and a ground floor exhibition space will also be extensively cleaned and restored.

The General Jackson ticketing building and Wildhorse Saloon also sustained damages, as well as several administrative buildings and warehouses.

The Grand Ole Opry is to reopen Oct. 1, with the Opryland resort to follow Nov. 15. The company expects to begin hiring employees six to eight weeks before the grand reopening in November.