SUMMERVILLE, S.C. – Case goods importer Jofran is building a 365,000-square-foot distribution center here that is expected to serve customers in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states with added capacity and quicker shipments.
These customers were previously served from the company’s warehouse facilities in Boston. However, that operation has been running low on capacity, noted Joff Roy, CEO. He added that it also has been getting more expensive to ship customers in the Southern states from Boston.
“The cost of domestic freight is not going to go down,” Roy said. “It is now essentially cost prohibitive to go no further than North Carolina.”
This will be Jofran’s third domestic distribution center. The company will continue to operate its Boston and Los Angeles area operations, which Roy said are smaller than the new facility, located just outside of Charleston.
It also will continue to ship full, mixed and partial containers from its bonded mixing warehouse in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
However, the key aspect of this new facility is quicker transit, Roy noted, adding that it not only has access to major highways, but also to the Charleston port.
“It will take weight off the Boston facility,” Roy said. “That was one of the foremost reasons to find another East Coast location. Demographic trends also support having a warehouse in that area.
“It will definitely serve the Southeast and up into parts of the Mid-Atlantic and potentially also into the Midwest,” he added. “We will have to see how that works out because freight all runs on supply and demand. … We will evaluate that going forward.”
Roy did not disclose the cost of the investment other than to say it was significant. He described it as a custom-built, high-cube building that will be on 56 acres and will have up to 100 dock doors when complete. When fully staff, it also will employ between 30 and 35 people.
Having been in the planning stages for nearly two years, construction on the project will start in January 2021 and it is expected to open in September 2021.
I’m Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.