GSF will close Suffolk facility next year

Published 10:53 pm Friday, November 14, 2008

The Golden State Foods distribution center in Suffolk will close by the end of 2009, forcing the 85 employees there to find other jobs or relocate.

Rumors that the center will close as early as Monday are false, said Darlene Wilson, the facility’s manager.

“Last year, our company announced plans that they are optimizing the facilities they have in the Southeast,” Wilson said. Golden State Foods, which distributes food used in McDonald’s restaurants, is closing the Suffolk and Greensboro, N.C. distribution centers and transferring its business to the Lexington, S.C., center and a new one in Garner, N.C., just outside Raleigh.

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The employees at the Suffolk facility have been offered positions in the Lexington and Garner locations if they are willing to relocate, Wilson said.

The decision has nothing to do with the economic downturn the area has experienced in recent months, she said.

“Our business activity really is unrelated to the economy,” she said. “It’s not for lack of business.

“It’s an overall national optimization plan to better service our customers in the Southeast.”

The company plans to continue its recognized charitable work throughout the closing and beyond, Wilson said. It recently donated about 200 winter coats and 100 pairs of shoes for distribution in Hampton Roads’ schools.

Because it still will do business with McDonald’s restaurants in the area, the company plans to continue to provide assistance through the Golden State Foods Foundation.

“I want to make sure the community understands that we’re still a part of the Suffolk community,” Wilson said. “There is plenty of work to do at the Suffolk facility easily into the fall (of 2009).”