The Columbia, MD-based distributorship notified the state Employment Security Commission of the closing last week. The plant will be shut down by Oct. 21, U.S. Foodservice told the agency.
The beleaguered U.S. Foodservice is one of the area's top 10 employers, according to the Colleton County Development Board, and the second largest distributorship in the United States.
Walterboro Mayor Harry Cone said this week that he did not know the details behind the company's decision. "It saddens a lot of us," Cone said. He said the closing will directly affect about 500 residents in and around Walterboro because most of the distribution center workers relied on the jobs to support their families.
The company is offering workers the option of transferring to other U.S. Foodservice facilities where job openings are available, David Smalls, president and chief executive of the Walterboro-Colleton Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying. Smalls has not spoken with company officials since the announcement, but he said the closing was not linked to any problems at the Walterboro facility. U.S. Foodservice also operates distribution centers in Lexington and Fort Mill and has a specialty foods division in Greenville.