- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Greeting cards company Hallmark on Tuesday announced plans to close its long-standing distribution center in Enfield by the end of June 2016, a move that will affect 570 employees.

Hallmark said workers may apply for open positions at its facilities in Kansas City and Liberty, Missouri. Some relocation assistance will be provided. For those who can’t make the move, the company said it will offer severance benefits.

Hallmark, known for its greeting cards, ornaments and other products, has operated its East Coast distribution operations in Enfield since 1952. The current 1 million-square-foot facility opened in 1980.

Dave Hall, president of Hallmark North America, said the decision to close “in no way reflects on the hardworking Hallmarkers at Enfield” or the community. Given the company’s long history in Enfield, he said the decision was made “after a thorough evaluation and careful consideration.”

The company said consolidating distribution at a location in Liberty, Missouri, will help it streamline operations and “enable substantial, ongoing savings.” Liberty is the larger of the two distribution facilities and is considered by the company to be more centrally located.

Enfield state Sen. John Kissel called the loss of 570 local jobs heartbreaking.

“This closure will send a tremor throughout our community that will be felt by many,” he said. “My heart goes out to the families who will be impacted and the hundreds who will be unemployed as a result. Hallmark has been an integral part of our community for over 60 years. This is a huge loss for Enfield.”

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