Giant Eagle will look for another company to take control of the warehouse if the Snyder's deal fails.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
AUSTINTOWN -- Officials from a Minnesota drugstore chain are hoping to put about 300 local residents back to work by taking control of the Tamco distribution center today.
Barbara Miller, executive vice-president of corporate administration for Snyder's Drug Store/Drug Emporium, said the purchase of the distribution center would be "very advantageous to us." She said the center would be used to supply Snyder's as it expands.
When asked if Snyder's expected to keep all Tamco employees, Miller responded, "absolutely. They've got a great group of employees."
The Tamco warehouse on Victoria Road in Austintown was the supplier for Phar-Mor stores. On July 18, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge William Bodoh approved the sale of Phar-Mor assets and paved the way for liquidation companies, including Giant Eagle, to begin going-out-of-business sales at Phar-Mor stores.
Bodoh's order also gave Giant Eagle control of the warehouse.
Daniel Shapira, an attorney for Giant Eagle, said he's optimistic about Snyder's chances of taking control of the warehouse.
"We're doing absolutely everything we can to get a deal done as quickly as possible," Shapira said, adding Giant Eagle will look for another company if a deal cannot be reached with Snyder's.
Miller said Snyder's may try to find a warehouse in Columbus or Detroit if a deal cannot be worked out for Tamco. She also said Snyder's will try to buy some Phar-Mor stores in Allentown, Pa. Miller said the company is not planning to buy any local stores.
Meeting with McKelvey
Shapira met with Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey on Thursday to discuss the status of the warehouse and the Phar-Mor store in the Newport Plaza. McKelvey said he expressed gratitude to Giant Eagle for working to find a company to take control of the warehouse.
"The flame is rekindled, and I'm grateful for that," he said.
Snyder's had bid for the bankrupt Phar-Mor but was rejected. The Minnesota chain wanted to operate 30 of Phar-Mor's 73 stores and retain some of the 180-person corporate staff. Snyder's also had reached a labor agreement with the union representing Tamco workers.
Bob Bernat, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 377, said Thursday he's not sure about the status of the agreement. He stressed he is looking forward to the purchase of the warehouse.
"I'm excited for an opportunity to get my people back to work, whether it be Snyder's or whoever," he said.
Shapira and McKelvey added they didn't know why Austintown Township trustees weren't involved in discussions about the warehouse.
Trustee David Ditzler said the trustees had planned to contact Wal-Mart next week to see if the discount-store chain would move into the Phar-Mor store on Mahoning Avenue and take control of the warehouse.
Ditzler said it would be "fantastic" for Snyder's to take control of the warehouse. "I think that's a definite step in the right direction," he said.