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Expansion delayed

Lenox jobs on hold

January 18, 2002

Expansion delayed; Lenox jobs on hold



By JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

Lenox Inc. has delayed plans to construct a $25 million distribution center after the "double whammy" of Sept. 11 and the national recession, a corporate spokesman said.

Lenox still plans to build the 500,000-square-foot distribution center and create 120 new jobs, but a construction start date hasn't been set, said spokesman Phil Lynch with Lenox's parent company, Brown-Forman.

Because a significant portion of Lenox's business is selling to department stores its china, crystal giftware and flatware in September and October, the company was hit hard by the economic consequences of the terrorist attacks and recession, Lynch said.

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"While their decision to put the project on hold is disappointing, it's certainly understandable in light of current economic conditions and the fact that the Sept. 11 attacks greatly affected Lenox's market," said Cassandra Latimer, marketing director for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

"We've been assured that the project is just postponed," Latimer said. "It's not canceled, so to speak."

Original plans called for a groundbreaking to be held last September so the center could be ready by late 2002 or early 2003, Lynch said.

The new building, to be constructed on Hunters Green Parkway in the Hopewell Valley Industrial Complex near Halfway, would replace the current distribution center on Industrial Lane in the Interstate 70/81 Industrial Park near Williamsport, Lynch said.

Lynch said 166 people work at the existing distribution center. The 120 new jobs would be created over a couple of years once the new distribution center opens, eventually giving Lenox approximately 286 total employees locally, he said.

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