Hallmark has announced plans to close its Enfield distribution center as part of a larger consolidation effort.
The Enfield location, which employs 570 people, will close by the end of June 2016, according to a news release posted on the company website Tuesday. Hallmark has been operating in Enfield since 1952.
Hallmark also plans to add about 400 full-time positions at the distribution center in Liberty, Missouri, bringing the total number of full-time workers there to 1,100 or 1,200.
Company officials said employees working in Enfield can apply for open positions at Hallmark locations in Kansas City and Liberty. Those who take new jobs in Missouri will receive relocation help. Others will receive severance benefits.
Hallmark North America President Dave Hall said recent "improvements in distribution and inventory management practices" have made it possible to streamline order fulfillment and shipping. The company plans to do it all in Liberty.
"Liberty was selected 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," Hall said in a statement Tuesday. "The operating efficiencies and innovations recently implemented at the Liberty Distribution Center will allow us to streamline our operations and enable substantial, ongoing savings."
He added that the decision to shutter the Enfield facility "in no way reflects on the hardworking Hallmarkers at Enfield or the Enfield community where Hallmark has operated for the past 62 years."
State Sen. John Kissel, a Republican who represents Enfield, called the move "heartbreaking."
"This closure will send a tremor throughout our community that will be felt by many. My heart goes out to the families who will be impacted and the hundreds who will be unemployed as a result," Kissel said in a statement Tuesday. "Hallmark has been an integral part of our community for over 60 years. This is a huge loss for Enfield."
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican from North Haven, also expressed concern over the impending closure. He called it "sad, but not surprising" and added that "there are no excuses for the governor's failed policies."
"Unfortunately, this may be the beginning of a mass exodus of Connecticut jobs. Connecticut’s business environment cannot compete with other states," Fasano said in a statement. "So when a company is deciding between two locations, it’s sadly not surprising that CT would lose that battle. When will this governor and the Democrat majority wake up and see reality?"