A Miami-based business that built a 40,000-square-foot linen laundry is hiring 50 people to work at the plant, which is in the Dunbar area of Fort Myers.
Crown Linen plans to open the facility in February on a 7-acre tract at Hanson Street and Work Drive, which is near Veronica S. Shoemaker Boulevard.
When the plant reaches full capacity it eventually will employ 130 to 140 people, said Pablo Lucchesi, Crown’s general manager and managing partner.
The business provides linen service for hotels and is expanding to Fort Myers in order to better serve its existing Southwest Florida customers.
Crown Linen hosted a job fair Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the CareerSource Southwest Florida center at 4150 Ford St. Extension in Fort Myers near Winkler Avenue.
Dunbar is often in the headlines for shootings, so a development such as this is especially good news for the community.
“This is what the Dunbar area has been waiting for, for a long time: good-paying jobs with benefits right here in the Dunbar neighborhood,” said Lee Ford, economic development chairman of the Dunbar 21st Century Collaboration.
Jobs include route drivers (CDL-A or CDL-B required), mechanics, laundry workers (sorters and flat-work feeders), dryer operators and tunnel washer operators. Pay will vary greatly, Lucchesi said, depending on the job and whether it is an entry-level or supervisory or management position.
“We’re going to find out what the market is, but we will be competitive,” he said. “It’s a wide range of different positions.”
The plant will start off slowly at the beginning of February and ramp up throughout the month, Lucchesi said, adding that it will be a good environment for on-the-job training.
“We already have several accounts out of Miami that we will relocate out of this facility,” he said. “As we grow we will be hiring more people, transferring volume from Miami to Fort Myers.”
The jobs additions will allow Crown Linen to take advantage of an enterprise zone in that area, said Jim Wall, spokesman for CareerSource Southwest Florida.
Businesses that open in an enterprise zone get tax advantages for each employee it hires.
“This hiring event is the culmination of a long courtship that involved several city and county agencies and is proof that collaboration between government and the private sector can create career opportunities,” said Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson. “CareerSource Southwest Florida is the area’s premier employment and training agency, and I’m sure Crown Linen will be happy with the results of the job fair.”
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