Town supervisors hope for quick turnaround in wake of Ahold USA departure
Six hundred employees of Ahold USA’s distribution warehouses in the towns of Lancaster and Cheektowaga are continuing to receive details on the company’s plan to cease operations in Western New York.
The company has decided to move local warehouse operations at Lancaster’s American Sales warehouse and Cheektowaga’s Scrivner Place site to locations in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
Town of Cheektowaga Supervisor Diane Benczkowski received word of the move via a press release from Ahold USA’s Director of Government Affairs, Thomas Cormier.
“They are now shipping mostly to the Philadelphia and New York City area, also up to Hartford, Providence,” said Benczkowski. “Nothing is happening here close to Western New York.”
Benczkowski reached out to Cormier to try and convince Ahold USA to maintain their Western New York operations.
“He explained about the efficiency of the operations – that they had no choice,” Benczkowski said. She understood the company's decision to save millions on fuel costs, and said it’s a topic that cannot be argued.
Benczkowski said she is disappointed, but was also informed by Cormier that of the 600 jobs expected to be lost, only 18 positions will be effected in the town of Cheektowaga. Ahold USA rented space in their Scrivner Place location, and Benczkowski said their departure will not affect the Cheektowaga tax base.
In Lancaster, where the bulk of jobs will be lost, Town Supervisor Johanna Coleman said the news is devastating to the employees of Ahold who live both in Lancaster and across the region.
“As you know, Western New York has been undergoing a great renaissance here economically and this just seems to be a step backwards,” said Coleman.
Coleman said the move is bound to have a spin-off effect on nearby restaurants, gas stations and convenience stores.
Despite the loss of employment, Coleman is optimistic about the future of the American Sales warehouse. - a facility which Ahold USA owns.
“I would be in hopes that they would be able to market that building, because the location is a prime location in the region,” said Coleman. “It happens to be located on a major highway, which is Walden Avenue, and that is located in Lancaster’s light industrial corridor.”
Coleman said the building is also especially valuable for its immediate access to the New York State Thruway.
American Sales currently supplies general merchandise, health, beauty, and other nonfood items to Ahold supermarket chains. Officials say the warehouse transition is expected to be completed by August with full time employees receiving severance packages.