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USF to Close Western PA Facility



U.S. Foodservice decided to close the location because of excess capacity, the company said in its statement. The facility's lease is also set to expire in July 2006. Located in the Tri-County Commerce Park near the Cranberry Township border, the $15 million facility opened in 1992 as a distribution center for Kraft Foodservice.

In 1995, a New York investment firm bought Kraft Foodservice and changed its name to Alliant Foodservice Inc, which was acquired by U.S. Foodservice. The distribution center in New Sewickley continued to operate, employing about 170 people. U.S. Foodservice, a division of Netherlands-based food giant Royal Ahold, bought the facility in 2001.

That created excess distribution capacity in the western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio region, the distributorship said.

U.S. Foodservice operates full distribution facilities in Altoona, Greensburg and Cleveland. After the closing, western Pennsylvania customers will be served through various facilities in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest. March 31 is the last scheduled ship date from New Sewickley.

Employees in New Sewickley will be considered for openings at other locations, and will receive severance benefits if they do not qualify for any transfer opportunities.

"We will do everything we can to encourage the Pittsburgh U.S. Foodservice associates to remain with the company," Division President Robert Stewart said in a prepared statement. "We will look at transfer opportunities both in the surrounding area and throughout the region.

Stewart said U.S. Foodservice has invested a lot in the Pittsburgh community and its employees, adding, "Ultimately, this new strategic direction will better serve our regional customers."

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