The Liberty distribution center of Hallmark Cards Inc. will add about 400 employees over the next 12 months as the company consolidates its warehouse and distribution activities.
By this time next year, the Liberty warehouse is expected to employ between 1,100 and 1,200 full-time workers, but those gains mean job losses at another Hallmark warehouse.
About 570 employees at the company’s distribution center in Enfield, Conn., were told Tuesday that their jobs are being phased out over the next few months. The Enfield center will close by the end of June 2016.
Hiring for the Liberty warehouse will begin soon and will continue in phases, the company said. Applicants should go to the career section at Hallmark.com and watch for distribution job postings in Liberty.
Dave Hall, president of Hallmark North America, said Liberty was selected to remain open as the single distribution site “because it is the larger of the two facilities and its central location provides shipment advantages for a vast majority of Hallmark’s retailers and customers.”
The warehouse consolidation is the latest in a series of Hallmark cost-reduction decisions. The company announced earlier this year that it is closing its Litho-Krome printing plant in Midland, Ga., and pulling that printing business into its Lawrence facility.
A year ago, the company announced a transfer of its gift wrap production from a plant in England to its Leavenworth plant. Two years ago, it closed its Topeka plant that made cards and envelopes, consolidating that work in Leavenworth and Lawrence. It also closed a distribution facility in Canada.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City headquarters have been paring staff, most recently cutting 165 employees in the creative department. The full-time headquarters employment now stands at about 3,000, down from about 3,700 in 2010 and a one-time peak of 5,600.
Hallmark’s U.S. employment now is about half what it was at its 1997 peak of 13,500.
As it has with all of its layoffs, the company is offering an unspecified severance package to employees in Connecticut. The Enfield workers also may apply for the Liberty jobs if they wish to move, and Hallmark will offer some relocation assistance.
Hallmark has had a distribution center in Enfield for 62 years. The current 1 million-square-foot center has been in use since 1980.
Hall said the closing didn’t reflect on the quality of the work done in Enfield. Rather, he said, “the operating efficiencies and innovations recently implemented” at the Liberty center made it the logical site to continue streamlining operations and gain savings.
The 1.7 million-square-foot Liberty distribution center opened in 1972. It now has 712 full-time employees.