News

Ace Hardware adding 200+ jobs in Lebanon County

Written by John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News | Apr 28, 2017 9:57 AM
acewarehouse.jpg

Photo by Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday that Ace Hardware Corporation will open a new northeast distribution center in Bethel Township that will create more than 200 new jobs.

Ace is the place for hardware, and Lebanon County is the place for Ace.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Thursday that Ace Hardware Corporation will open a new northeast distribution center in Bethel Township that will create more than 200 new jobs.

The company that operates more than 5,000 locally-owned retail stores will occupy an 874,000 square feet warehouse facility and will add an additional 206,000 square-feet of space on the property that is located off Route 22, about a mile from Interstate 81 and Interstate 78.

Wolf's announcement solves last week's mystery at the Lebanon County commissioners meeting when an attorney representing the real estate developer, USAA Real Estate Co., requested a tax abatement program be extended to include the additional warehouse space.

Timothy Horstmann explained to the commissioners that he could not reveal the identity of the company coming to Lebanon County at that time because it was relocating from another state and had not made an announcement.

On Thursday, Ace issued a news release explaining that after rigorous analysis of its overall distribution network it has decided to close a distribution center in Prince George, Va., a small crossdock in the Baltimore area, and the Emery-Waterhouse operations in Portland, Maine and Pittston, Pa.

Replacing them will be the $20 million, 1.1 million square-foot warehouse near Fredericksburg that will serve Ace Hardware stores throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, New Jersey and Washington D.C. The company has committed to creating 208 new, full-time jobs and retaining 65 existing positions in the next three years. It will be hiring at the end of the year in anticipation of opening the distribution center in the first quarter of 2018, a company representative said.

Wolf, who once worked as a hardware store manager, noted that Lebanon County's proximity to major roadways paved the way for the deal.

"Today's announcement is great news for Lebanon County and highlights the benefits of Pennsylvania's strategic location," he said. "Pennsylvania's proximity and access to markets makes it a prime choice for these types of distribution centers"

An executive for Ace agreed that the transportation advantages were an important factor in choosing the location.

"Fredericksburg is an ideal location for our new facility, centrally located to major cities in the northeast, and close in proximity to a substantial amount of Ace Hardware stores," said Lori Bossmann, Executive Vice President, Supply Chain, Inventory Replenishment and Retail Support for Ace Hardware Corporation. "The opening of our new distribution center will create operational efficiencies across our entire supply chain network. Stores serviced from this facility will benefit from the stocking of thousands of products and a more streamlined approach to merchandise distribution. We look forward to building relationships with the community of Fredericksburg, and growing our ties with the state of Pennsylvania."

The project was coordinated by the Governor's Action Team in collaboration with the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation.

To help entice Ace to Pennsylvania, it received a funding proposal from the state Department of Community and Economic Development that includes a $300,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, $208,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs, and $60,000 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training.

The enticements also included the county, Bethel Township and North Lebanon School District to give them a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Enhancement, that will save the company about $2.5 million in property taxes over the next decade.

"We are pleased that Ace Hardware has selected Lebanon County for their newest facility," said LVEDC President and CEO Susan Eberly, President and CEO.  "Ace is a family household name with a brand and reputation that is built on integrity. They have made the commitment to bring quality jobs to the area and we look forward to assisting with this transition."

Founded in 1924 by a small group of Chicago hardware store owners, Ace Hardware Corporation operates more than 5,000 locally owned-and-operated stores in all 50 states and in more than 60 countries, making it the world's largest hardware retail cooperative.

This story comes to WITF as part of a content-sharing agreement with the Lebanon Daily News.

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