CORNWALL, Ontario – Target Canada confirmed what nearly everyone else has been thinking – its Cornwall distribution centre will close.
Eric Hausman, a Target spokesperson said Friday: “Yes it will close but we don’t yet know when.”
Target Canada announced Thursday it is closing all of its stores in this country.
The massive distribution centre on Industrial Park Drive, operated by Eleven Points Logistics, employs some 350 people, many of whom have only been on the job for a couple of years or less.
Officials at Eleven Points Logistics were not immediately available for comment. The facility sits on nearly 170 acres of prime real estate in Cornwall’s industrial park.
It appeared to be business as usual at Eleven Points when Seaway News visited the property Thursday morning, but sources later said many employees were sent home for the day after learning the news.
Sources suggested to this newspaper Eleven Points Logistics created its distribution centres solely to transport goods to dozens of Target stores across Canada.
With those stores now closing, there won’t be much left to do at the distribution centres.
The Target announcement took many by surprise Thursday.
“Our thoughts at this time are with the local employees and families of the Eleven Points Distribution Centre who will be affected by today’s announcement,” said Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy. “It is a major employer in our community and there could be other negative spin-offs for local businesses that provide services to the distribution centre.
“We are still attempting to determine the overall impact to the city and we will provide additional information once it becomes available.”
Staff in Cornwall’s economic development department were trying to find answers.
“What I’ll be looking to do is find a user for that building,” said Cornwall economic development manager Mark Boileau. “And Target will doing the exact same thing.”
Unlike other distribution centre properties, the facility is owned by Target, said Boileau.
He also suggested while there are some companies in the market for such a grand building with all its distribution amenities, it’s not for everyone.
“It’s a short list,” he said of potential suitors. “We do get inquiries from distribution centres.
“But only a few companies are looking for something of that size.”
In late 2011, the City of Cornwall completed the sale of 169 acres of serviced land in the Cornwall Business Park to Target.
Throughout the following year, the site was a beehive of activity as contractors rushed to complete the state-of-the-art facility.
Less than two years ago the company held a job fair, looking to staff the distribution centre.
Target Canada employs some 17,600 people across the country. Nearly all will receive a minimum of 16 weeks of compensation, including wages and benefits coverage for those employees not required during the wind-down period.
It’s unclear what its distribution centre employees will receive, if the facilities close. In addition to the Cornwall locale there are two other in Milton, Ont. and Calgary.
The company sought bankruptcy protection as it attempts to exit Canada. Just a few years ago Target made a bold move to enter the Canadian market – but Thursday admitted it would take years before being able to turn a profit.