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York-based Bickel's Snack Foods Inc. made no ironclad promises to Mark Troyer when Troyer agreed to sell Troyer Potato Products Inc. in December 2008.

But Troyer, who had rebuffed previous offers from companies that wouldn't guarantee the jobs of his 150 Waterford employees, made the sale hopeful that those jobs were secure.

That sense of hope was short-lived.

Bickel's, a division of Hanover Foods Corp., confirmed Thursday that it would close the Route 97 plant by March 7, laying off "approximately"77 people.

No one at Bickel's was saying whether those 77 jobs were the only ones left, and what, if anything, would be done with the plant.

The only official communication from the company so far took the form of a two-sentence letter that was filed, as required by law, with the state Department of Labor and Industry.

The letter said the layoffs were "for business reasons."

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