Large companies continue to set Greater Hazleton as a base for their operations by establishing distribution centers in the area, learning firsthand how the area’s logistics and workforce are among the many benefits of locating here. With lower operational costs and markets throughout the country and beyond that are easily accessible in just a few hours by highway, rail, air or port, the Hazleton area is an ideal location for distribution centers.
OfficeMax’s center in Humboldt Industrial Park sends office supply products to 304 OfficeMax stores in 20 states throughout the Northeast and Midwest, along with six consolidated fulfillment centers in six different states, shipping 9.5 million cases each year. In a typical day, the distribution center receives 34,500 cases and sends 36,000 cases, delivering to about 85 stores.
OfficeMax Director of Operations John Beam said the interstate highway system and the local workforce were the primary reasons the company chose to locate a facility in Hazleton.
“From the start, we noticed the incredible work ethic of people from this area. In fact, our entire leadership team is made up of local people. We give credit for our positive operational costs to our dedicated employees and our strong leadership team, who are committed to superseding all goals,” he said.
U.S. Cold Storage, a frozen food distribution facility, has also had success with its Hazleton location and has expanded three times in three years.
The facility in Humboldt North features room to store 50,434 pallets of food products in conditions from ambient temperatures to 20 degrees below zero. U.S. Cold in Hazleton serves 24 different customers, including many household names. Products stored there range from ice cream to frozen meats, poultry and fish. An average of 150 trucks a day brings and takes products from the facility, and some product is transported by rail. The Hazleton facility ships and receives nearly 1.2 billion pounds of food each year.
“Our local and national growth necessitated the expansions, which have now afforded us the opportunity to contract several major national household name accounts within the past few years,” said Ryan Horvath, U.S. Cold Storage general manager. “We are very proud of our workforce and their pride and commitment to the job as well as their continual efforts to make us better at what we do.”
NBTY, which distributes vitamins and nutritional supplements all over the world, credits part of its success to its Humboldt Industrial Park location and employees. The facility in Greater Hazleton is the company’s largest and ships several thousand pallets of product each week to retailers, wholesalers and pharmacies, including Walmart, Target, CVS and Sheetz.
“We have a very dedicated workforce that is one of the key reasons for our success. Many of the people who started when we opened eight years ago are still here,” said Jeffrey Payne, assistant warehouse manager at NBTY. “The location of our facility to Interstates 81 and 80 is fantastic as well. A good portion of our business involves shipping up and down the whole East Coast, so it’s a great benefit to have the interstates so close. They also lead to other major highways and ports, which makes overseas shipping convenient for our company.”
Candy manufacturer Tootsie Roll located a distribution center in Humboldt Industrial Park four years ago and distributes all 43 of its brands from the facility, including Tootsie Roll, Charms, Andes mints, Cella’s cherries and Fluffy Stuff cotton candy. Tootsie Roll ships products directly to its customers throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, sending up to 70 million pounds each year. “It’s a fact that our operational costs are positive because of our decision to locate in Hazleton. Our profit-and-loss statements are proving that. Compared with other Tootsie Roll facilities in the United States, we are number one in all measurable categories,” said Scott Cox, Tootsie Roll general manager. He credited the facility’s success to its employees, whom he described as having “a really good work ethic,” and to Tootsie Roll’s strategic location.
“Our company initially chose Hazleton because of the logistics of the area and how that would benefit Tootsie Roll in our distribution operations,” he said. “The workforce and location have continued to be a benefit for us. Since we’re near the crossroads of Interstates 80 and 81, trucks entering and leaving our facility can easily access roads to the north, south, east or west and we have the ability to attract many trucking firms.”
Other companies with distribution centers in the Hazleton area include Michaels, which distributes arts and crafts products; AutoZone, which distributes auto parts and accessories; Bradley Caldwell, which distributes more than 27,000 home, pet and farm products; EB Brands, which distributes items for the fitness, gift and travel markets; and many more.