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525,000 sq ft building in Cumberland purchased to house a distribution warehouse.

Cargo Container

CUMBERLAND TIMES NEWS — An online restaurant equipment store plans to open a distribution center in Cumberland and employ about 150 people in the coming two years, according to state and Allegany County officials. WebstaurantStore has purchased a 525,000-square-foot space in the former Kelly-Springfield warehouse in Mexico Farms, near the North Branch Industrial Park, which will become its second distribution location on the East Coast.

The company is owned by Clark Associates of Lancaster, Pa., which employs more than 900 people and was recently named one of Central Penn Business Journal’s fastest growing companies, officials said. The announcement was made Monday by Gov. Martin O’Malley and Allegany County Department of Economic and Community Development Director Matthew Diaz.

A $300,000 loan from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and a $30,000 loan from the county were incentives for the company to choose Allegany County. The company also has distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Nevada. The purchase price was not available Monday, but the property was recently listed at $4.5 million in a sales brochure.

The company plans to begin hiring for 150 warehouse positions with hourly rates starting at $11.50, said Melissa Fenske, a spokeswoman for the company. The hiring will begin over the winter months, with employees starting to work in the spring.

Fenske said that several methods are available for applying for the jobs, but applying online is probably the best option for potential employees.

“We are happy to be opening a distribution center in Cumberland. The state and county worked together to put together an attractive incentive for bringing jobs to Western Maryland,” said Dave Groff, the president of WebstaurantStore. “Our company is excited to commence operations in Cumberland and looks forward to being part of the community for many years to come.”

One Allegany County official said the deal shows the importance of state and county cooperation.

“This will prove to be a great win for not only Allegany County, but the entire region. Projects like this show the importance of tax credit incentives programs such as the Enterprise Zone and One Maryland,” said Diaz. “Without these programs and a true partnership with our friends at DBED, these projects would be extremely hard to make happen.”

Allegany County Commissioners praised the deal.

“Along with my fellow Commissioners, Creade Brodie and Bill Valentine, we are delighted to have a company like Webstaurant locate in Allegany County,” said Allegany County Commissioner President Mike McKay. “As commissioners, we work daily to promote job growth and the redevelopment of properties that will allow our tax base to grow.”

The governor said the deal shows Maryland is committed to business growth.

“Our investments in education, innovation and infrastructure get results: they create jobs, spur innovation and provide the most competitive, highly skilled workforce in the nation,” said O’Malley. “More and more fast-growing companies like WebstaurantStore are setting up operations in Maryland to take advantage of our dynamic economic climate that fosters business to growth. We welcome WebstaurantStore and look forward to seeing their business expand and grow in our great state.”

WebstaurantStore formed in Lancaster in 2004. The online retailer provides food service professionals with restaurant equipment, cookware, janitorial supplies, consumable products and other necessities for the restaurant industry.

The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies.

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