Fairborn to lose jobs in Bon-Ton consolidation

Bon-Ton, the parent company of Elder-Beerman, will move jobs from its existing distribution center in Fairborn and from three other similar centers in the Midwest to a new 743,000 square-foot e-commerce distribution center in West Jefferson near Columbus next year, company officials announced.

It’s not clear what precise impact the consolidation — expected to occur in spring 2015 — will have on jobs in the Dayton-Springfield region. “We have not disclosed the number of associates that are affected by this consolidation,” Mary Kerr, Bon-Ton’s vice president of investor and public relations, told the Dayton Daily News.

In addition, the move will impact only those distribution center employees who are involved in filling direct-to-consumer “e-commerce” orders. Those Bon-Ton distribution center employees who are involved in the retail side of the center — sending merchandise to Bon-Ton’s department stores rather than directly to consumers — will not be affected by the move, Kerr said.

Chris Wimsatt, director of economic development for the city of Fairborn and president of the I-70/I-75 Development Association, estimated that the move would cost about 50 jobs at the Fairborn center, while 125 jobs would be preserved there. Wimsatt said his estimates were based on numbers the company gave him a couple of years ago.

Those employees whose jobs are affected “will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at the new West Jefferson facility or receive career transition benefits, including severance, according to established practices and state employment service support,” Kerr said.

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The three other Bon-Ton distribution centers that will be affected are in White Hall, Pa.; Rockford, Ill.; and Naperville, Ill. The new center will result in the addition of 139 new jobs in Ohio once the new center is fully operational, with additional seasonal jobs expected to be created during the peak holiday shopping season, Bon-Ton officials said.

“This new fulfillment center will permit significant expansion of our shipping capacity with improved operational efficiency,” Bon-Ton CEO Brendan Hoffman said in a release.

Bon-Ton Stores Inc., with corporate headquarters in York, Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operates 270 department stores and furniture galleries in 25 states under the Bon-Ton, Elder-Beerman, Bergner’s, Boston Store, Carson’s, Herberger’s and Younkers nameplates.

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