Lenox to build distribution center, hire 70

October 21, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

After delaying the project for about a year, Lenox Inc. is moving forward with building a distribution center near Halfway, a Lenox official said Friday.

The distribution center will create 70 new jobs, 50 fewer than the 120 new jobs Lenox had been touting when it originally announced the project, said spokesman Phil Lynch with Lenox's parent company, Brown-Forman.

Lenox delayed construction of the approximately $25 million distribution center on Hunters Green Parkway after the company, which manufactures china, crystal giftware and flatware, was hit hard by the economic consequences of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the recession.


During the delay, Lenox officials further analyzed their plans for consolidating U.S. production facilities and discovered efficiency measures that led to them only needing to create 70 jobs at the local center, Lynch said.

The 166 employees at the existing distribution center on Industrial Lane will move to the new center, Lynch said. The center is expected to be complete in October 2003, he said.

"We're very pleased Lenox is expanding. It shows a commitment to Washington County and its existing work force and will provide construction-related jobs in the area," said Tim Troxell, acting executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development announced Friday it is giving Lenox a $150,000 conditional loan toward $7 million worth of equipment for the 500,000-square-foot distribution center, department spokeswoman Alicia Moran said.

The five-year loan with fixed 3 percent interest could be forgiven in part or whole if Lenox meets certain performance criteria, Moran said. That criteria includes the creation of new jobs.

Troxell said the loan amount had been higher when Lenox planned to create 120 jobs but was lowered when Lenox revised its plans.

"I think that the county was very interested in retaining the jobs that were there and making sure that we didn't lose the jobs," Troxell said. "The additional jobs on top are just extra.

"It's wonderful that we're getting any additional jobs out of it."

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