An affiliate of Endurance Real Estate Group LLC announced the signing of a 114,550-square-foot lease with Can Corporation of America Inc., a subsidiary of The Giorgi Companies Inc., at the Route 61 Distribution Center, 184 Tuckerton Road, Reading.
The lease with “Can Corp. continues our strong leasing activity within our Reading Industrial Portfolio,” a statement from Endurance said. The CBRE team of Paul Touhey, Sean Bleiler and Abraham Kromah represented Endurance in this transaction.
Endurance acquired the Reading Industrial Portfolio in February 2022. The largest building in the group is 184 Tuckerton Road, with 392,030 square feet. The building is 100% occupied, “in large part due to Reading’s strong labor pool and prime location to exceptional highway infrastructure that places six of the top 10 U.S. (metropolitan statistical areas) and 60% of the Canadian population within a one-day truck drive,” the statement said.
“This specific space was leased prior to launching a full-blown marketing effort, which speaks to the strength of the market and lack of functional product currently available to tenants,” said Albert J. Corr, senior vice president/principal of Endurance.
Formed in 2002, Endurance Real Estate Group is based in Radnor. Since its formation, the company has acquired and developed over $1.3 billion of assets totaling 20.6 million square feet and sold over 11.7 million square feet with a combined value of nearly $1 billion. Endurance also owns and operates a portfolio totaling over 5.3 million square feet consisting of 54 buildings.
Lehigh Valley Trade Center (LVTC) is nearing completion in Bethlehem, and developer Trammell Crow Co. (TCC) has donated one parcel to D.I.V.E. LLC to continue scuba diving training at the former Dutch Springs.
Trammell Crow Co. (TCC), a commercial real estate developer, and Clarion Partners, said the LVTC II, with 527,000 square feet of Class A warehouse/distribution space is almost complete and the nearby LVTC III, with 588,000 square feet is expected to be completed in late 2023.
Located at 4939 Hanoverville Road, LVTC II, which is currently leasing, is a single-story, cross-dock facility on a 37.8-acre site. The single-story building features 40-foot ceilings, 119 dock doors, four drive-in doors, 250 vehicle parking spaces and 154 trailer parking spaces, the company said. It also has LED lighting and an ESFR sprinkler system.
LVTC III, located at 4733 Hanoverville Road, includes two single-story facilities featuring best-in-class clear heights, dock doors and parking ratios.
LVTC III sits on three parcels of land, one of which was donated by TCC to allow scuba diving to continue at the quarry lake on the site. Formerly known as Dutch Springs, Lake Hydra will be operated by D.I.V.E. LLC for recreation divers and first responders, who utilize the lake as a training facility.
“D.I.V.E. LLC would like to commend TCC and Clarion Partners for their forward thinking and generosity in their donation of the lake. Without their team’s support and understanding, scuba diving in our community would have been lost. It was a pleasure to work with developers who invest back into the communities in which they operate,” said Ken Kraft and Jim Folk of DIVE.
“Along with Clarion, TCC was pleased to have worked with the community and with Ken and Jim from DIVE LLC. to donate a parcel of land to keep the quarry open for divers. We wish their business great success and look forward to our continued partnership and moving forward in construction process for Phase III,” said Matt Nunn, principal with TCC’s Northeast Metro team.
Clarion is also pleased the quarry could be maintained. “Clarion is delighted to have worked with TCC in creating a mutually beneficial solution for the parties involved, allowing for the newly named Lake Hydra to continue serving the diving community, as well to be utilized for training purposes for first responders,” said Clarion Partners Vice President Guilherme Palocci. “We are looking forward to building the new phase of the project in this strategic distribution location.”
Peak Construction is acting as the general contractor for LVTC and KSS Architects is designing the facility.
LVTC II and III mark the next phases of development at the 1.2-million-square-foot Lehigh Valley Trade Center industrial park, which was built by TCC in 2016 and is currently owned by Clarion.
To protect workers and reduce injuries and illnesses in the warehousing, storage and distribution industries, the U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched the Regional Emphasis Program for Warehousing Operations in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington D.C. and West Virginia.
“With the rapid growth of e-commerce, the warehousing industry has significantly expanded. This emphasis program will address hazardous conditions these workers continuously face every day,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia. “Through coordinated outreach, education efforts and on-site inspections, OSHA is determined to identify hazardous workplace conditions and hold industry employers accountable for providing a safe and healthful workplace.”
The initiative follows a Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2020 finding that the warehousing and storage industry’s injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers is higher than the U.S. average of 2.7 per 100 rate among all private industries. In addition, from 2017 to 2020, BLS reported 93 work-related fatalities nationally in the industry.
OSHA’s emphasis program began on Aug. 3 with a three-month period of outreach aimed at education and prevention. During this time, agency representatives will share safety and health information with employers, trade associations, workers and other stakeholders, OSHA said.
OSHA encourages employers to review operations at their warehousing, storage and distribution facilities before the program’s second phase, focused on ensuring compliance with federal safety and health standards.
This fall, OSHA will begin targeted enforcement, incorporating on-site inspections to identify safety and health hazards, including those typically found in the warehousing industry. These include those related to the use of powered industrial trucks, such as forklifts, lockout/tagout procedures, machine guarding, means of egress, and fire suppression. Inspections will not include marine terminals or shipyards, OSHA said.
The emphasis program ends Aug. 3, 2027, unless extended. The program supplements the work of OSHA’s area offices as they continue to open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations and fatalities.
Consumer demand is driving the warehouse boom in Central Pennsylvania and Lehigh Valley with ecommerce companies leasing more than half of the space.
That demand is expected to grow, and local and regional companies are investing in the development, according to CBRE.
Other space is occupied by food and beverage distribution and manufacturing companies, according to Becky Bradley, executive director of Lehigh Valley Planning Commission. Small to medium-sized businesses make up the rest.
Bill Wolf, vice president of CBRE, which tracks industrial development across the country, including Central Pennsylvania, said Lehigh Valley’s industrial sector and the region are seeing substantial growth from the scaling up of local manufacturing and logistics facilities.
Pennsylvania’s 78 and Interstate 81 corridor in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley added the most leased large industrial space in the country in 2020, with 8 industrial leases of 1 million square feet or more added last year, according to a CBRE report.
Additionally, the I-78/I-81 corridor was home to 11 of the 100 largest industrial leases, coming in at almost 13 million square feet — larger than any single MSA (Micropolitan Statistical Areas) or city-sized region in the United States, CBRE said.
The region is close to the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. It also has access to rail service through Norfolk Southern and CSX.
In addition, Lehigh Valley International Airport is ranked one of the top air cargo markets in the country and one of the fastest growing, according to the Airports Council International’s 2021 report.
“The majority of the facilities are general retail and wholesalers – consumer products,” Wolf said. The reason for the growth, he said, is simply consumer demand.
Bradley said most of the warehouses are built on spec.
“They are giant boxes with a lot of flexibility inside,” she said.
However, the majority are leased before construction is complete or around the time of completion.
“We can’t establish traffic (during the planning stages) because we don’t know who is going in until they get there,” she said.
Steven Deck, executive director, Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, which covers Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties, agreed.
“There’s no single or even small group of developers that stand out in our region, more a broad range of commercial/industrial real estate developers,” he said.
In terms of who leases the space, “unless there is a single lease holder like FedEx, UPS, Walmart, Amazon, Proctor & Gamble, etc. we don’t know who leases the space,” Deck said. “Many of these warehouses have unknown users at the land development stage, with such decisions often made well after the planning process is complete.”
“Generally, we see 35%-40% leased before completion,” Wolf said. “Inventory is low, so space is absorbed before completion.”
According to the CBRE report, investing in warehouse and industrial space is more risk diverse. Investors are more local than foreign.
Bradley agreed, saying development is happening by companies that specialize in it. Locally, CBRE, Prologis, Lee & Associates of Eastern Pennsylvania, National Logistics and J.G. Petrucci Company Inc. are among the major players.
Space not leased by ecommerce, food and beverage or manufacturing, are leased by small or even large businesses, Bradley said.
“It could be used for storage, which there is a need for,” she said.
Many of the warehouses, Wolf said, are operated by third party operators.
“It’s always been there, but we are seeing an increase,”
He explained the third-party operators offer accounting, human resources, outsourcing and other services that help companies run more efficiently.
“We are in unprecedented times with construction delays, supply shortages and even delays in approvals,” he said. “There is more demand than supply, so costs are going up.”
Nationally, there has been a 15% increase in rents in major markets, he said. In Central Pennsylvania, rates have climbed 20%, with Lehigh Valley seeing an average of $9-$10 a square foot and Central Pennsylvania seeing $7-$7.50 per square foot.
“The further away from major transportation routes, the lower the rents will be,” Wolf said.
“All the markets are hot” and developers are stretching out to find land suitable for development,” he added.
After Lehigh Valley, developers are stretching into Berks County, Wolf said.
York County, with access to the I-83 corridor, has been strong as well. With access to Baltimore and Harrisburg, companies have pulled labor from those markets and prospered.
Lancaster and Reading, however, have suffered because of Route 222, Wolf said. “The road to nowhere does not give good access.”
While the work being done on Route 222 is ongoing, those markets are still behind in the building boom, he said.
Cold storage is an area of real growth too, he said. “These garner premium rents because they are unique buildings, especially if the leasee needs the whole building.”
Cold storage is in demand not only by food companies, but pharmaceutical and chemical companies as well, he said.
The attraction to the regional market is also due to the labor market, Wolf said.
According to the CBRE report, the regional warehouse labor force was around 190, 500 in 2020. That is expected to grow 13.4% by 2030.
While the labor market is strong, Bradley said different companies require different numbers of employees, depending on the business.
“Look at Walmart, for example,” she said. “They have two warehouses side by side. One is for small items and the other is for large ones.”
Bradley said there could be a 50% difference in the number of employees needed. The warehouse that ships small items can employ 4,000 to 5,000 people while the one that ships large items requires less hands, she said.
“These facilities are becoming more automated all the time in the efforts associated with increasing capacity without huge increases in labor costs,” Deck said.
Bradley agreed. “There is a lot more automation going on.”
Wolf said AI will play a big part in manufacturing, in warehouses and in transportation.
“These companies are more tech savvy with understanding where goods are coming from and how much they need to keep on hand,” he said. “Automation brings on more efficiency through the whole process.”
Even with inflation on the rise, Wolf said the growth of warehouse space is expected to continue because rent is a small portion of the supply chain costs when looking at the cost of transportation, goods, and payroll.
Mid-sized companies, industry analysts say, prospered during the COVID-19 pandemic, but now face roadblocks that inhibit continued growth.
Mike Gigler, senior relations manager for Wells Fargo, said mid-sized companies entered 2022 with strong capital, but the impact of labor costs, supply chain issues and transportation woes have curtailed growth.
Wade Becker, partner in RKL’s Audit Services Group and Leader of its Manufacturing and Distribution Industry Group, agreed, saying a number of mid-sized manufacturing and distribution companies are well positioned with capital due to unprecedented demand for products during the pandemic.
“I’ve been impressed by the way they navigated the pandemic,” Gigler said. “They adapted to the new norms.”
Companies entered 2022 in good financial shape, Gigler said, and would continue to see sales growth if it wasn’t for a lack of materials. “There is a pent-up demand they can’t satisfy,” he said.
In addition to supply chain issues, Gigler said the biggest challenge companies face is the lack of workers and the increased price of hiring those they can get.
“There are a record number of unfilled jobs that impact production,” Becker said. “Many companies are looking at reskilling workers and offering incentives for new employees.”
Some, he said, are giving sign-on bonuses and then training them for the jobs needed.
Companies are also looking at automation to reduce the number of employees needed.
“If machines can do a task, companies can redirect workers to other jobs,” he said.
Becker used retail as an example. Stores have increased the number of self-scanning lanes to make up for unfilled jobs. That is being replicated in the manufacturing environment, he said.
“So many people exited the workforce and while it may calm down, it may not get back to normal as people thought so companies are hedging as they wait to see how it plays out,” he said.
Gigler said many of the machines needed are made overseas, so Wells Fargo has been working with them for the best possible financing.
“You need to understand the value of the dollar vs other currencies, so you don’t get hit with a decline in value when it comes time to pay for the automation,” he said.
Both agree that the availability of raw materials has also been a huge issue facing manufacturers.
“Many companies would be expanding operations now, but can’t get the materials,” Gigler said. In addition, he said, approvals for expansion are seeing delays.
Add inflation to the mix and those materials that are not available now will be more expensive when they are.
“Business owners need to be nimble,” Gigler said. “Money isn’t free anymore.”
The annual inflation rate for the United States is 8.3% for the 12 months ended April 2022 after rising 8.5% previously, according to U.S. Labor Department data published May 11.
Companies, Gigler said, are not pulling back from expansion, but they are being more diligent about their return on investment.
Becker said a new twist in costs for companies is cyber security.
“Companies are needing to invest in IT more now because information is becoming more vulnerable,” he said.
Before the pandemic, criminals were targeting financial institutions, but now “we are seeing them break into manufacturing and distribution facilities and holding their information for ransom.”
All of this adds up to uncertainty for growth through the remaining part of the year and into 2023, they said. Demand for products will continue, but whether companies can meet those demands and expand operations is the question.
“If (companies) could hire and find raw materials they would be doing fantastic,” Becker said.
Reading-based Unique Snacks is expanding its products into the Texas market.
The company is introducing its Original Splits, Pretzel Shells, Sprouted Splits, Sprouted Shells, Multi-Grain Splits, Sourdough Craft Beer Pretzel Rings and other pretzel varieties, as well as its Honey Mustard and German Mustard dips at additional markets and grocery stores throughout the state.
“My family built our business by creating unique healthy pretzels using fewer ingredients and smarter baking to provide customers more flavor,” said Justin Spannuth, COO of Unique Snacks. “As consumer demand for better-for-you snacking options compatible with a variety of dietary constraints continue to increase, we are excited to work with additional grocery stores and food retailers to expand the availability of our signature pretzels and dips to our loyal customers.”
Unique Snacks Original Splits were introduced at approximately 150 stores in the Southern Division of Albertsons Cos. since the beginning of 2022, including Albertsons, Randalls and Tom Thumb locations throughout Texas and Louisiana.
Central Market’s 10 locations are expanding their Unique Snack offerings, Spannuth said. The gourmet grocery store is expanding its offering from Unique Snacks to include Pretzel Shells, Sourdough Craft Beer Pretzel Rings, Honey Mustard and German Mustard Dips.
Central Market is also participating in Unique Snacks’ program with Folds of Honor that raises funds for the nonprofit from each purchase of specially branded packages that Folds of Honor uses to create academic scholarships for the spouses and children of our nation’s wounded and fallen service members.
Unique Snacks’ Original Splits, Pretzel Shells, Extra Dark Splits and Sourdough Craft Beer Pretzels Rings are also available at over 55 pOpshelf locations across six states, including three locations in Texas that are opening this month in McKinney, San Antonio and Watauga. There are also plans for Unique Snacks to be offered at six additional pOpshelf locations as they open later this year.
The availability of beer at bars, taverns and restaurants in the southeast is becoming a slow flow as supply chain issues hit distributors.
According to the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA), distributors have been forced to limit deliveries due to a lack of drivers.
While reports have filtered in from various parts of the state including the southeast and northwest, the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association (PLBTA) says the epicenter appears to be in the southcentral section, where with little warning, Ace Beer Distributors (Universal Products, Inc.), Wrightsville, informed bars, taverns and clubs that they were cutting back deliveries to only twice per month.
On their website, Ace describes itself as representing “more than 350 brands (more than 2,000 products distributed!) from over 130 supplier partners and services over 1,400 direct retail partners across Lancaster, York, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties.”
According to sources sharing information with the PLBTA, a labor crisis is to blame, specifically a lack of drivers.
In a recent letter to the Pennsylvania House Liquor Control Committee and the Pennsylvania Senate Law & Justice Committee, Chuck Moran, executive director of the PLBTA, told committee chairs that “the decision by Ace is quite problematic for small businesses that rely on the wholesaler.” Moran continued by writing, “Many family-owned taverns and bars do not have enough storage space to handle two or three weeks of malt beverage supplies.”
One club licensee recently wrote to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board with concerns about Ace’s delivery decision. The PLCB responded that the club could not pick up their own supplies, and they could not go out of a wholesaler’s territory to attempt to purchase supplies.
The only options offered were to attempt to get a delivery from a smaller distributor (if they would even do so) within the wholesaler’s territory or swap out popular more affordable national brands with local brands from breweries that deliver.
But delivery problems are not new. Before the pandemic, there were similar issues to a lesser degree; however, now those problems are being amplified.
A statewide membership survey conducted by the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association in 2019 showed that nearly 40% of PLBTA members surveyed had fewer delivery date options and nearly 20% had experienced delayed delivery of malt beverages from distributors. And more than one out of three members had run out of certain malt beverages and had to wait for a resupply.
Further complicating the issue are outdated liquor laws. By law, bar owners can only receive beer delivered from retail and importing distributors and can’t pick it up themselves, Moran said.
While licensed bars, taverns and clubs can purchase liquors at a state store and personally deliver the supply to their bar or tavern, current law does not allow them to pick up and personally deliver malt beverages to their own establishment.
“In late 2019, we suggested a reasonable business solution to this problem, proposing legislation that would allow R, H, E, and club licensees to pick up a limited ‘emergency’ supply of beverages from the wholesaler or distributor and then deliver that supply to their own establishment when the wholesaler was unable to make a timely delivery,” Moran wrote in his letter to the legislative committees that oversee industry-related matters.
For now, Moran says his association hopes the legislature as well as distributors will listen to these concerns and help build business solutions.
A portion of the former Bethlehem Steel brownfield site has gone green.
Bowery Farming officially opened Thursday with tours for local and state dignitaries and community members to show how vertical farming can feed close to 50 million people in a 200-mile radius of the facility at 1925 Feather Way in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII.
Irving Fain, president and CEO of New York-based Bowery Farming, said the Bethlehem site was chosen for the company’s third and most technologically advanced farm because of the area’s spirit of industry.
“We are carrying on the innovation and leadership of the area,” he said.
The farm, housed in a 150,000-square-foot facility on an 8.7-acre site, employs 70 “modern” farmers to run the fully automated commercial farm that will provide lettuce, green leafy vegetables, herbs, and, in the future, strawberries and other berries, said Katie Seawell, chief commercial officer for Bowery Farming, who led one of the tours.
Bowery Farming made a $32-million investment in the facility and received a $210,000 Pennsylvania First grant and a $250,000 Enterprise Zone grant from the state to build the facility. The company also received a $50,000 workforce grant to train its “modern” farmers.
“In addition to bringing at least 70 jobs to Bethlehem, Bowery Farming is innovating to feed the future and fight food insecurity,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This project is a win for agriculture and a win for Pennsylvanians,” he said, adding that agriculture is a $132 billion industry in Pennsylvania that employs 600,000 people.
“If we’ve learned anything from the past two years it is that we are in a period of unprecedented disruption and uncertainty across our climate and geopolitical circumstances, which unfortunately is going to persist,” Fain said.
“We are also seeing firsthand that our global food system is inextricably tied to these dynamics,” he said. “At Bowery, wherever food is needed, we can grow it. We are addressing the challenges in our system by growing food smarter for more people in more places — and that work, securing food for our future, continues today with the opening of our Bethlehem Farm.”
“We stack crops from floor to ceiling and use LED lighting that mimics sunlight,” Seawell said during the farm tour.
The BoweryOS system (the company’s propriety operating system) can change the amount of sunlight needed for each type of plant being grown.
Plants are grown 365 days a year and are rotated so the seedlings are being started as other plants are maturing.
“We choose sites in urban areas, so the produce doesn’t have to travel far to get to the markets,” she said.
The beauty of indoor vertical farming, besides taking up much less room, is that there are no pests, so no pesticide is needed.
“We meet all food safety standards, a core of our operation,” Seawell said.
“The BoweryOS system is the brain of the farm. With the integrated sensors, we can capture data that tells us what the plants need.” She said each crop requires different amounts of light, water, airflow and nutrients.
“We can produce quality, flavor and yield with precision,” she said. “It’s like a game of Tetris.”
The process starts with the BoweryOS system planting seeds in trays, each of which has a QR code, which allows the company to track the plants from start to packaging, ensuring the quality and safety of the finished product.
The BoweryOS system controls the “recipe” for each plant – the amount of water, light, air flow and time needed for growing.
Seawell led the tour through the process, showing how a fully automated system takes the planted seed trays to the germination room onto the growing room to processing and packaging.
In the growing room, trays of seedlings sit side by side with more mature plants, allowing production to continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The BoweryOS system sets the light, water and airflow for each individual tray to allow the plants to grow to optimum nutrition and taste in tight quarters.
The indoor vertical farm structure allows Bowery Farming to use less water than traditional farms because the water is recaptured using a HVAC system. Seawell explained that as plants mature, they give off water that is collected and recycled.
“The United Nations said by 2050 there will be nine to 10 million people to feed. That means we will need 50% more food than we do today,” she said. “In order to meet that demand, we would have to convert our forests into agriculture. That’s not good for the planet.”
This facility, she said, grows produce that would take up about 100 acres of land in traditional farming.
Seawell pointed out that because the plants are grown in a secure environment that keeps environmental exposures out, the produce is not susceptible to diseases like E. coli, which devastated the romaine lettuce crops earlier this year.
“With the QR codes, the flats of plants are tracked with complete transparency so we can prove the product is safe,” she said.
During the processing of the plants, an automated conveyor belt separates leaves that are not marketable. Seawell said Bowery has partnered with Four Springs Farms in Kutztown, which takes the rejected leaves for compost.
The packaged products are sold at regional retail customers including Whole Foods Market, Giant of Landover and Albertsons Companies’ stores, as well as e-commerce partners like Amazon Fresh.
The company is also working with local distributors, including Four Seasons Produce, to serve specialty and independent grocery partners throughout the region, like local grocer Gerrity’s in Bethlehem.
Bowery Farming is also ready to launch new farms in the first quarter of 2023 in the Atlanta, Georgia and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas metro areas.
ALDI’s Center Valley distribution center is undergoing renovations and expansion to serve more than 150 stores.
The 60,000-square-foot dry warehouse expansion will bring the total square footage to 575,000-square-feet, according to A M King, which is managing the project.
In the Northeast, where land is scarce, the focus is on renovating and expanding existing facilities. In 2006, A M King completed a 127,000-squre-foot expansion for ALDI at the 400,000-square-foot Center Valley facility.
The distribution center, located in Upper Saucon Township, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, servicing stores in Philadelphia, Northeastern and Lehigh Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania.
“ALDI and A M King have a long and successful relationship,” said A M King Business Unit Leader Carl Morse. “Our familiarity with their facilities and strength in successfully delivering innovative cold storage and food distribution projects makes us the perfect partner for this extensive renovation and expansion in Center Valley.”
The current project includes new dry warehouse space for staging and storing nonperishable product; new coolers inside the existing warehouse; six new cooler dock positions; upfit of the existing main office and large conference room; renovations to the dry and perishable breakrooms/locker rooms, with new mezzanines added above both; demolition of an existing freezer wall to streamline operations and air movement; additional battery charging areas and associated ventilation systems; and conversion of a third-party space to a warehouse collaboration room.
Exterior and sitework will include re-roofing of the existing nonperishable roof area to arrange for solar panel installation; expansion of employee parking lot; addition of an employee entry drive to separate truck and car traffic; and expansion of a truck entry drive.
Wisconsin-based Uline, a shipping supply specialist, is opening a new distribution center in Allentown and plans to hire between 90-120 associates to staff the facility.
The new facility at 8449 Congdon Hill Drive continues the trend of double-digit growth Uline has experienced throughout North America over the past five years, the company said.
Expected to open in the third quarter of this year, the company plans to hire and train now to fill the key positions needed, including warehouse associates, material handlers, forklift operators, mechanics, warehouse clerks, custodians and managerial staff.
Uline said starting wages will be $25 per hour. Uline offers bonus programs that include annual performance, sales goals and profit sharing, it said.
Employees also receive generous paid time off as well as opportunities for development and growth.
“This new distribution center is in the works, now we’re looking for quality candidates to make it a success,” said Senior Human Resources Manager Rob May.
“We have great opportunities in the Lehigh Valley area for people seeking work with a stable, customer, employee and family focused company,” he said.
The facility will distribute Uline’s wide range of products including shipping supplies and safety products to branches nationwide – guaranteeing Uline’s promise of next-day delivery, May said.
“Uline’s expansion over the last few years has been monumental, and we anticipate it trending this way for many years to come,” said Senior Director of Redistribution Wade Goff. “Our continued growth led to a need for an additional distribution center in the Pennsylvania market to serve Uline’s locations across our North American footprint.”
Pennsylvania businesses relied on Uline products as they adjusted their operations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, purchasing to-go containers for restaurants, cleaning and janitorial supplies for grocery and retail, and personal protective equipment for hospitals and testing sites, Groff added.
As many businesses return to pre-pandemic operations, demand for Uline’s catalog of business products continues to grow. The Allentown distribution center is the latest of Uline’s ongoing expansion, which already employs nearly 1,000 people in the Lehigh Valley.
This expansion adds about 100,000 square feet to Yourway’s existing storage capabilities at its Allentown headquarters, 6681 Snowdrift Road.
The new location is close to Yourway’s Global Headquarters and main storage facility, which is located close to key airports, offering global access to several domestic and international cities.
The expansion will extend Yourway’s temperature-controlled storage capacity, addressing the growing need for temperature-controlled storage, clinical packaging, and distribution services for clinical trials involving investigational products, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and other advanced modalities, according to the company.
The new facility adds space for 5,000 pallets at ambient temperature. Yourway has completed mapping, validation, and full GMP qualification of the warehouse space, the company said.
An expanded complex is being constructed at Yourway’s Global Headquarters, including both an extension of the main building, which is completed and has added an additional 1,000 pallets of 2–8 °C storage, and new buildings on the Allentown campus.
When complete, the expansion will effectively double the primary and secondary packaging, storage, and distribution capabilities of the current facility.
“Yourway likes to stay ahead of the curve and have excess capacity available before customers need it,” said Gulam Jaffer, founder and president of Yourway. “This is an example of serving that need.”
For 50 years an electrical products distributor has called 256 West Walnut St. in Allentown home.
Known as Queen City Electric until it was purchased by Harrisburg-based Schaedler Yesco in 2015, the distributor is now making a big move over to the city’s East Side as the company ramps up its operations to respond to a changing and growing market.
The company is opening a new, larger facility near the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs stadium at 601 E. Highland St., a move that will also make its operations easier to access for customers.
But the big move is just part of the growth the company is experiencing right now.
“We have lots going on throughout our footprint,” said Greg Schaedler, CEO of the company.
The company, which has 22 locations throughout Pennsylvania and one in New York, is also in the process of completing a 40,000-square-foot addition to its central distribution center in Harrisburg, increasing its space to over 200,000 square feet.
“We’re excited that construction is complete, and we can start utilizing this new space,” said Dean Krout, vice president of operations. “After eight months of construction, we have over 3000 new pallet storage locations, more receiving space and eight new dock doors. We now have room to grow with the needs of our customers.”.
This comes on the heels of the company launching a new ecommerce website in April, which has helped the company adapt to the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the supply chain and workforce.
“It’s about growing in our service business and storing materials for our contractors,” Schaedler said.
He explained the skills gap that is currently affecting the industry has slowed down many of the projects that electrical contractors are working on. They simply don’t have the skilled workers to meet the demand for all of the work that’s out there.
At the same time, disruptions in the supply chain have made it important for these contractors to have the materials they need close at hand.
Many contractors don’t have the space to store a large volume of inventory at their own locations, so they rely on Schaedler Yesco to house those products for them.
“Supply line issues have dictated that we bring in product while it’s available and offer stage and store services to our customers so they can maintain their project schedules,” said Farrah Mittel, president of Schaedler Yesco. “Having more space gives us flexibility to add new SKUs and new categories to our line up.”
That helps the company help its customers.
“What we recommend to our customers is that they order ahead of time to make sure they have the materials they need and then we release it to them when they need it,” said Kim Downs, director of marketing and business development.
Josh Holly, Lehigh Valley territory manager, said the new Allentown facility will bring Schaedler Yesco up to 30,000 square feet, much more space than the 20,000 square feet the company has in its current facility.
But more than that, he said the space is better used, instead of being in a 100-year-old building that is split up into different spaces, the new facility provides a single floor between two buildings. It also has higher ceilings, which will allow them to stock inventory vertically.
He said the location of the new facility is also a benefit.
“Access is just a lot better with its proximity to Airport Road and Route 22,” Holly said.
He noted that the Allentown distribution center serves customers well beyond the Lehigh Valley, so access to major highways to transport their products is important to the company’s success.
“Our goal is to offer our customers the best solutions for their needs. This expansion allows us to look at solutions a little differently than, perhaps, we could before,” said Mittel.
With the extra space and services, the company is also growing its workforce. Schaedler said the company has added 70 new employees since the beginning of the year and plans to hire more heading into 2022.
He expects the company will be moved into the new facility by mid-January.
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