Target hosts grand opening event

August 08, 2003|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - About 700 employees and guests, including Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker-Knoll, were present Thursday for the grand opening of the new Target distribution center.

The warehouse, which is at 3001 Archer Drive between Interstate 81 and U.S. 11 in Guilford Township south of Chambersburg, currently employs 600 people. The center has been shipping and receiving goods for the department store chain since June.

Mitch Stover, Target's senior vice president for distribution, said the center is shipping and receiving half a million cartons of merchandise a week, a figure that will reach 1.5 million during peak periods two or three years down the road.


"You won't have to do it by sweating more," Stover said to the workers. While the number of employees is expected to increase to about 825 by that time, Stover said older centers tend to be more productive.

Bill Miller, the plant's general manager, said about 450 of the employees are warehouse workers, earning $10.50 to $11.20 an hour. The center will run two 10-hour shifts Tuesdays through Fridays and two 12-hour shifts on Saturdays through Mondays, he said.

Employees will get raises every six months for the first three years, Miller said.

State Rep. Jeff Coy, D-Franklin, said Target and other distribution centers are creating jobs that allow people to keep working and raising families in Franklin County.

"One of the great misunderstandings in the public is that we don't want these forklift operators making $6 an hour," L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. said Wednesday. Distribution centers, which pay $9.50 to $12 an hour in this area, "are putting pressure on manufacturers to increase the wage structure to compete for workers," he said.

While the Chambersburg area has attracted distribution centers for companies such as Target, Ingram Books and, Ross said the manufacturing sector has been making a comeback.

"The feedback we're getting is that manufacturing has been rebounding the last four to five months," he said.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, manufacturers, exclusive of construction and mining, have been adding jobs for several months in the labor market made up of Franklin and Fulton counties.

Manufacturing jobs increased by 100 to 10,700 in June, still 900 below the June 2002 level, according to state figures. That compares with about 5,300 jobs in the warehousing, wholesaling, transportation and utilities industries.

JLG Industries Inc. has announced it will close plants in Wisconsin and Minnesota as a result of its $100 million acquisition of OmniQuip. That production will move to McConnellsburg, Pa., increasing the number of jobs at Fulton County's largest employer.

Ross said other heavy machinery makers such as Grove Worldwide and Ingersoll-Rand are recalling some workers laid off during the past two years.

Target represents a substantial investment. Miller said the company does not divulge figures about construction costs, but Statler said it was about $84 million. Ross estimated the figure at more than $100 million for the land, building, equipment and other improvements, including $5.5 million in state grants toward roads, utility improvements, job training and tax credits.

The 137-acre site includes 31 acres under roof, 238 loading docks, 9 million pounds of steel and enough concrete to pave 25 miles of two-lane highway.

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