Crown Brands LLC , a restaurant and hotel supplier, has begun hiring to fill 50 warehouse positions at its new facility in Somers.

The Lincolnshire, Ill., company is relocating its Savannah, Ga., warehouse to the Somers First Park 94 industrial park, located at Highway H and Highway S, in a distribution expansion move to reduce shipping costs and maintain a Midwestern presence near its headquarters.

Greg Brennecke, the company’s executive vice president of operations and supply, said the company already has trucks bringing merchandise and equipment to its new location.

Crown Brands is expected to have its new 300,000-square-foot warehouse open for business on March 4.

Though some Illinois employees will work in the new warehouse, the company still wants to fill about 50 positions, including pickers, forklift operators, inventory control personnel and people to work in the packaging and shipping department.

Brennecke said the relocation comes just a few weeks after Crown Brands acquired a food service unit of Oneida Limited, a manufacturer of tableware and cutlery.

“Though the deal wasn’t completed until January, we began looking in November,” he said. “We wanted to find a location in Wisconsin because it is warehouse-friendly and centrally located.”

He said the new location is more cost-efficient.

“Shipping from Savannah to the West Coast is very costly,” he said. “From Kenosha, we can ship to any part of the country easily.”

“This was a very strategic acquisition,” he said. “While there are other companies that do what we do, we now are the only distributor that is a one-stop shop for restaurants. Our customers like that they can get things from one place.”

Inbound transportation is also more cost-efficient, according to Brennecke.

“We bring in a lot of containers from China, Vietnam and other places,” he said.

Future plans call for further expansion, Brennecke said.

“We’d like to be in a 500,000- to 600,000-square-foot warehouse in two years,” he said.

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