LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB)- More than six hundred employees were told Thursday afternoon that Ahold USA is closing its Lancaster warehouse and the American Sales Company in Cheektowaga by August. Only a small number of the employees will be transferred to jobs in Pennsylvania or Massachusetts.
“I’m shocked,” said Lancaster resident Paul Lemere. “Very shocked because I know they have a help wanted sign out front and the reason I noticed that, I saw it in the Job Finder. I was looking for a second job. This week, as a matter of fact, I was planning this Friday of filling it out and going in.”
Ahold bought Tops Markets in 1991 and opened these facilities a few years later, but ever since selling Tops in 2007, these operations have been serving mostly out of state supermarkets.
“Decisions to transfer facilities are not easy and we understand the concern that this change will cause for ASC associates and their families” said Ahold USA Executive vice president. “We are committed to treating all associates affected by this decision in a fair and respectful way.”
“I was kinda surprised to hear it.” said former Lancaster Supervisor Robert Giza, who ran the town back in the nineties when the massive warehouse opened. “And I thought it was a good mix for Lancaster because people need food and equipment that they purchase at stores.”
Not all the employees live in Lancaster but the spin off business was felt at the Noco Express next door, according to clerk Jake Lezynski. “It’s kind of a tragedy. A lot of the guys and girls would come over and see us and we know them by first and last names, so it’s gonna be a very big loss to us.”
Ahold plans to begin the transition in April and complete it by August.
“I feel sorry for the employees and their families.” said Giza. “They’re gonna have a tough time finding a job of that nature. You know, jobs are hard to find right now. Hopefully they can relocate somewhere else or someone else will buy the building and put something else in there that they can work there.”
Lancaster’s new Town Supervisor Johanna Metz-Coleman tells News 4 she hopes to meet with Ahold representatives soon to see if there’s anything the town can do to keep the facility open.