Bak USA, a tablet maker seen as one of Buffalo's biggest success stories in recent years, has abruptly shut down operations, putting 77 people out of work.
Employees were notified of the decision today.
"It is with great sadness that I announce today that Bak USA will close its doors," Bak USA Chairman J.P. Bak said in a statement. "My family started this business nearly fours years ago with a gold vision: to empower American students and workers by producing computers in the United States. Through the innovation and hard work of our talented team, we achieved more than we dreamed. Regrettably, the economic pressures on our young company have become too great to withstand."
Bak went on to blame the policies of the Trump Administration for making it too difficult to remain in business.
"While we are beyond proud of Bak USA's many successes, the business did not reach the point of profitability necessary to sustain itself. The additional, unanticipated expenses associated with the tariffs imposed by the White House were a deciding factor in our ultimate decision to close," Bak said.
Family tells 7 Eyewitness News in phone call, “We came to Buffalo to do something different. We weren’t able to effectuate the change we wanted long term, but during its peak the company created something positive and special.”
The grassroots company had 15 employees when it opened to much fanfare in 2015. It produced three types of mobile computers: the Atlas 12 2-in-1 laptop for K-12 schools, the Seal laptop for field work, and the Bak Board - the original tablet from Bak USA.
Bak was also a STARTUP-NY company, which allowed it to operate tax free for its first 10 years.
"Buffalo has become a leader in high-tech manufacturing and Bak USA's newly completed expansion in the heart of the city means new jobs, more economic activity and more momentum for a region on the move," Governor Andrew Cuomo said at the time. "Bak USA's successful expansion in Western New York is yet another example of companies coming to New York and staying here to grow their businesses in our state."
Bak USA's headquarters were inside Compass East on Michigan Avenue, which was the longtime home of Sheehan Hospital.