A loss for western New York will be a future gain for the Lehigh Valley.
Ahold USA said last week it plans to close its two warehouses in the Buffalo area and shift those operations to C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. facilities in the Lehigh Valley and South Hatfield, Mass.
Ahold USA expects to complete the transition by August. The closures of the warehouses — run by Ahold USA-owned American Sales Co. — will eliminate 600 jobs in western New York.
The news from Ahold ties into a previous announcement from C&S Wholesale Grocers. On Dec. 1, C&S said it would create 600 full-time jobs by August, stemming from its expansion into the former home of a Walgreens distribution center at 125 N. Commerce Way in Hanover Township, Northampton County.
C&S Wholesale Grocers said Friday that the additional volume from Ahold will help generate the need for 450 new jobs at the 579,400-square-foot facility in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV, a warehouse that already employs 200.
That means C&S now expects to employ 650 by August at its building at 125 N. Commerce Way, up from the 600 announced last month.
C&S, which also has facilities at 4820 Hanoverville Road in Lower Nazareth Township, said it currently employs more than 900 people in the Lehigh Valley.
Ahold USA said the decision to transfer warehouse operations boiled down to location.
C&S Wholesale Grocers' spaces in the Lehigh Valley and Massachusetts are more centrally located within the markets reached by Ahold's retail divisions, including Giant Landover, Stop & Shop New England, Stop & Shop New York Metro and Giant Carlisle.
"ASC's operations in the Buffalo area are strong, but they are no longer located within the markets served by Ahold USA's retail divisions," Jan van Dam, executive vice president of supply chain and e-commerce at Ahold USA, said in a news release. "Ahold USA continuously evaluates its business processes and supply chain to ensure that we are providing the highest level of service at the lowest cost for our local retail divisions and, ultimately, their customers."
From its Lehigh Valley and Massachusetts locations, C&S will provide warehouse and other services to Ahold USA's retail divisions, including general merchandise, health and beauty care and seasonal products.