Handy Hardware CEO Ken White announced this morning at the Meridian Distribution Center of Handy Hardware, "All operations will cease as of December 31 here in Meridian, and the warehouse will be completely vacated by January 31 of 2013."
With that announcement, 109 people will be out of work at the end of the year. Local business and elected officials heard the news Wednesday morning, and Handy Hardware officials stressed that it was not local officials fault the center will be closing. The decision to close the 47,000 square foot facility was strictly a move to help Handy's bottom line.
"We have a talented workforce here," says White. "We have sophisticated, talented, local management. This decision was not made because our employee base was not good or the resources were not available. Once again, this is a business decision that Handy needs to restore to profitability."
White says he values his employees here in the Meridian Distribution Center, and the company is going to do whatever it can to help its employees through this transition.
"We will do everything in our power to help the employees. These are good people. They're friends of ours. They're wonderful people, and we have notified them this morning. Each of them has been given a notice that they will be here employed with the company for the next 60 days as we wind down the operations," White explains.
White also said employees may be able to transfer to the Distribution Center in Houston, Texas. Handy Hardware Wholesale, Inc. is based in Houston, Texas.
The facility has been open for less than two years.
Mayor Cheri Barry released a statement about the closing:
"Our first concern is for the employees and local business partners of Handy Hardware, and the impact this will have on their families. The facility is state of the art and will be immediately marketed through economic development channels. The Office of the Mayor will work closely with our partners in state government, Lauderdale County, and the EMBDC to locate a new business on the site."
The EMBDC later released a statement saying it had been assured by Handy Hardware that there was nothing the city, county or state could have done to prevent the closing of the facility.
In a statement, EMBDC president, Wade Jones, said the organization will immediately begin marketing the building through the Mississippi Development Authority, site location consultants, and other entities that focus on distribution centers.