By Steven Penn
MONROVIA — Dreary weather couldn’t wash away optimism during a press conference and groundbreaking event Tuesday morning to announce plans to build a Gordmans distribution center in Monrovia. The facility is supposed to provide nearly 250 new jobs.
On hand for the event, were Gordmans executives, including CEO Jeff Gordman; Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspersmann; Ambrose Property Group President Aasif Bade; and Hendricks County Council President Nancy Johnson.
Bade gave those in attendance a brief background on Gordman and the company, which is based in Omaha, Neb.
“Jeff Gordman is the president and CEO of Gordmans Inc., a national apparel and home decor retailer,” Bade said. “Gordmans is a publicly traded company operating 83 stores in 18 states and employs more than 5,000 associates. Gordmans offers an incredible selection of apparel and home decor for the entire family at everyday savings.”
Bade added that Gordmans, which recently opened a store in Avon, was ranked No. 29 on Forbes’ 2012 list of Best Small-Cap Companies.
Gordman said he was thrilled to be in Hendricks County.
“As a native Nebraskian, we’re delighted to locate our new facility within BIG TEN country, our new collegiate athletic conference, in particular, the Hoosier State,” he said. “Although we are the Cornhuskers, so hopefully we will prevail on the gridiron this fall.”
He also took the time to thank Bade, whose company has partnered with him on the project, and Ellspermann, before stating his company’s mission.
“At Gordmans, our mission is to delight our guests with big savings, big selection, and fun for all the associates,” Gordman said. “Our mission is our purpose ... it’s our promise that we make to our guests and to ourselves, which we publicly proclaim in the vestibule at each and every one of our stores.”
He also invited anyone not familiar with Gordmans to visit any of the five Indiana stores: Avon, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, and Mishawaka.
Gordman said this expansion is in line with the nine stores opened last year, along with the 10 scheduled to open this year. He added that the company will end this year with 5,500 associates, operating 93 stores in 19 states, which is an increase of nearly 40 percent over the last three years.
The expansion will also be a boon to Hendricks County economically, creating more than 200 job opportunities.
“This facility, which will open up next summer, will total 545,000 square feet, employ approximately 250 associates within three years of opening,” he said. “Including construction, equipment, and technology, it will represent a total capital investment of $37.5 million.”
Ellspermann said she feels this is a great fit for Indiana.
“It just comes as no surprise to Hoosiers, that a company such as Gordmans with a strong retail history would choose to expand in Indiana,” she said. “Our state has one of the most welcoming ... (business climates) in our country and as Jeff said, one of the hardest working, dedicated workforces.”
She added that this expansion will go hand-in-hand with the effort to add jobs for Hoosiers, and since February, 3,400 news jobs have been created in Central Indiana.
Ellspermann said that she is familiar with Gordmans and is happy the company will have a bigger presence in the state.
“I have a little different vested interest in all of this,” she said. “I have four ... young adult daughters, and I have to tell you, coming from southern Indiana and the Evansville area, I’ve experienced Gordmans firsthand and I think my daughters and I have done you proud in our shopping patterns. We’re pleased to have you here in Indiana and to grow the retail experience here as well as the warehousing opportunity.”