Project leaders behind Harbor Freight Tools’ new distribution center in Joliet celebrated the grand opening of the facility Thursday that will bring 800 new jobs to the area.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony and building tours were among some of the highlights of the event at the 1.6 million-square-foot facility, 3401 S. Brandon Road.
Among others, the event featured remarks from Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. and Will County Center for Economic Development President Doug Pryor.
Joliet Mayor Bob O’DeKirk gave kudos to project leaders for their investment in the city.
“I want to thank Harbor Freight for choosing our great city,” O’DeKirk said. "Obviously, there are a lot of pluses with this project. The one thing I really want to stress, as mayor, are the jobs—the good paying jobs, as many of you are aware of. I want to thank Harbor Freight for what they brought to the community and again raising the bar on what they’re willing to pay for their work here in Joliet.”
Project leaders originally selected the site for the distribution center along Brandon Road in May 2018. After which, construction started the following year in October.
But the site didn’t start receiving the company’s products until August 2021.
Mark Calloway, divisional vice president and general manager of the new facility, emphasized that the new facility will help Harbor Freight Tools to promote greater efficiency in delivering products.
“This location will service over 300 stores along with fulfilling direct-to-customer online orders,” Calloway said.
Will County Center for Economic Development President Doug Pryor touted the region’s assets for pulling together to make developments such as Harbor Freight Tools’ new distribution center possible.
“A lot of our work is about creating jobs in the region,” Pryor said. “I love seeing all of the jobs that are already here. We know there are many more to come."
Calloway said Harbor Freight Tools’ decision to invest in Joliet speaks volumes to the company’s values.
“Our commitment to direct local hiring has helped us add so much incredible new talent to the Harbor Freight Family,” Calloway said. “It’s the people in these communities that are helping Harbor Freight Tools reach its goals and create new opportunities for our business and associates.”
The new distribution center is preparing for a full launch at the end of the month.
The facility is staffed by about 170 team members with plans to hire more.
Harbor Freight Tools will be hosting a June 29 job fair. Applicants are encouraged to visit the Clarion Hotel, 411 S. Larkin Avenue in Crest Hill, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those interested may also apply online at harborfreightjobs.com.