Trucks rolling in at Ace site

Published 10:19 pm Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A worker loads the first pallet of supplies in the Ace Hardware import redistribution center in the CenterPoint development off Kenyon Road earlier this month. The center currently is getting stocked and will begin shipping supplies out in July.

More than three years after the rezoning for the CenterPoint Properties intermodal center was approved, the first trucks full of merchandise began arriving this month at a new distribution center there.

The new Ace Hardware import redistribution center is the first redistribution location on the East Coast for the company and will service the company’s regional distribution centers, including one in Prince George County, said Tim Duvall, supply chain director for Ace Hardware.

The first shipments began arriving on May 1, Duvall said. The company expects about 200 containers full of products to stock the 336,000-square-foot warehouse.

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Duvall said the company needed a new location on the East Coast to get product closer to retailers. It chose a location near the Port of Virginia because of the depth of the port, Duvall said.

“We located in the CenterPoint park because the infrastructure of the park had already been established,” Duvall said. “It would be a little quicker for us to start the operation.”

The company received 12 shipments in its first week and expects about 20 containers a week until July, when it will begin shipping outbound.

The need for the new facility was underscored last fall by Hurricane Irene, Duvall said.

“When Hurricane Irene came up the coast last year, it would take anywhere from seven to 10 days to get product to restock our distribution centers,” Duvall said. “Now we will be able to restock within a day or two.”

Duvall said the city and state have cooperated very well throughout the process of constructing the new warehouse.

When the project was announced in September, company officials expected the facility to create 75 new jobs.

Duvall said Expeditors International, a third-party company, is operating and staffing the facility. Hiring inquiries should be addressed to them at 853-7776.

A grand opening is planned for the facility on July 26.

Also under construction just to the north of the Ace site is a distribution center for the Navy Exchange Command. That location is slightly bigger, at 350,000 square feet, than the Ace building.