TruServ Corp. likes Washington County location

April 17, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

TruServ Corp. officials plan to open an 840,000-square-foot distribution center in Hunters Green Business Park off Hopewell Road by April or May of 1999, a company spokeswoman said Thursday.

The Chicago-based cooperative is negotiating with developers and Washington County officials to build the warehouse, which would create about 300 jobs, said Debby Robinson, a TruServ spokeswoman.

TruServ officials have looked at sites elsewhere in Maryland and in West Virginia, but Washington County is the preferred site, Robinson said.

"It's just a good, natural, central location for us," Robinson said. Seventy percent of the Fortune 500 company's shipments go to retail stores on the East Coast, she said.


Robinson said TruServ officials hope to seal a deal in time to start construction in May or early June so the distribution center would open in about a year.

The warehouse could be expanded to 1.2 million square feet, according to documents filed at the Washington County Department of Planning and Community Development.

The Washington County Commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the County Administration Building concerning a plan for TruServ to use $1.5 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to buy the land for the warehouse from a Reading, Pa., development firm.

That money could come in the form of a loan or grant, said Andy Spitzler, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

The warehouse would be built on about 70 acres west of the Staples Distribution Center off Hopewell Road and bordering Interstate 70.

The land is owned by Tiger Development Inc., a Reading, Pa.-based development firm that would build the warehouse for TruServ.

Robinson said the wage range for jobs at the warehouse has not been determined, but said wages would be competitive and would include a benefits package.

Jobs will include customer service representatives, forklift operators, distribution managers and employees to fill orders and put away merchandise. The cooperative contracts with truck drivers, she said.

Robinson said the cost of the warehouse project has not been determined.

The warehouse is about the same size as Staples' center, which cost $43 million.

From the warehouse, seasonal, promotional and basic goods would be distributed to regional distribution centers and retail stores, Robinson said. Merchandise includes hammers, nails, plumbing fixtures, mulch, outdoor tools and promotional products, she said.

TruServ, with more than 10,000 members internationally, is the nation's largest wholesale hardware cooperative, Robinson said.

TruServ Corp. is a nonprofit organization because it distributes profits in the form of rebates to its members at the end of each year, she said.

The cooperative was formed on July 1, 1997, when Cotter & Company merged with ServiStar Coast to Coast, according to TruServ.

The companies merged to better compete against firms such as Lowe's, Home Depot and Hechinger, Robinson said. By uniting, the cooperative's members can offer lower prices because of cost efficiencies, she said.

The cooperative's retail stores include True Value, ServiStar, Coast to Coast, Coast to Coast Home & Auto, Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental Center, Home & Garden Showplace and Induserve Supply.

There are at least two TruServ cooperative members in Washington County - in Hancock and Boonsboro, officials said.

TruServ can be found on the Internet at (

Staff Writer Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

The Herald-Mail Articles