Anderson-DuBose Warehouse Impresses Chamber Members

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Perry J. Chickonoski and Daniel C. Cook, both lending officers for Talmer Bank and Trust, left impressed with what they saw Friday during a tour of Anderson-DuBose Co.’s Lordstown Distribution Center.

“It’s amazing the quality of inventory they have and they move it through that facility every four days,” said Chickonoski – like Cook, a managing director and commercial relationship manager with Talmer.

“The inventory turns are amazing,” Cook agreed.

The two bankers were among those at the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber’s Good Morning, Lordstown and Newton Falls breakfast held at the distribution center.

The 160,000-square-foot warehouse, which opened in 2012, is a full-service distributor for McDonald’s and Chipotle restaurants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, said the president of DuBose, Warren Anderson. “Everything that a McDonald’s or a Chipotle restaurant sells, we sell them. So it’s one-stop shopping for the restaurants.”

On any given day, the warehouse has about $5 million in inventory, which turns over in the aforementioned four-day timeframe. “It’s remarkable,” Anderson declared.

The warehouse has “just shy of 200 employees” and the average wage is $47,000 per year plus 30 cents on the dollar in benefits, he reported.

The 477 McDonald’s restaurants that Anderson-DuBose supplies represent about 90% of the business the operation has, with the 92 Chipotle’s restaurants accounting for the remaining 10%, warehouse manager Mike Genova said during the tour.

Details Genova shared ranged from inventory to employee issues to the number of security cameras on the warehouse grounds (144). During the startup meetings at the beginning of each shift, for example, warehouse employees do stretches.

“We preach a lot about proper lifting techniques,” Genova emphasized.

Forklifts run on batteries that, rather than being removed for recharging, are integrated into the units. The lifts are plugged directly into wall rechargers. Each battery holds a 12-hour charge but the recharge cycle is just 20 minutes, he said.

The warehouse also features a dedicated break room for over-the-road drivers, he said. The site has rail access and, Genova reported, workers can unload a railcar in three hours.

Toward the end of the tour, Genova pointed to the area he identified as “the wall of fries” in the section for frozen foods. “On average, we can keep 24,000 cases of french fries at any given time,” he said.

Community involvement is important – the company donates just under $100,000 annually to causes and organizations in greater Lordstown — as is sustainability, Anderson told the audience.

The company diverts nearly 90% of its waste to some form of recycling, or about 800,000 pounds of refuse last year, reported David Aubin, director of distribution. Additionally, the warehouse has reduced its carbon emissions more than 20% over the past two years, he said.

“I like the minimization of the waste,” Talmer’s Cook remarked.

His colleague, Chickonoski, was also impressed by the longevity of the staff, many of whom have been with the company for decades. “It seems like they do a good job of taking care of their employees, which creates loyalty,” he said.

During the breakfast portion of the chamber program, members heard presentations by Mayor Arno Hill, Newton Falls Mayor Lyle Waddell, school district superintendents Paul Woodard of Newton Falls and Terry Armstrong of Lordstown. Hill provided updates on projects his village has undertaken.

“We’ve got a lot going on in Lordstown,” he began. The mayor shared something a founder of the village told him: Businesses bring money. Residents cost money. But the reason for bringing money in is to take care of residents.

Among the projects is construction of Matalco Inc.’s $125 million aluminum smelting plan. Structural steel is being erected for the plant, which he expects to produce its first billet in November.

Other projects in development are the proposed Clean Energy Future power plant — an $800 million project that requires 1.6 million man-hours to take it to fruition — as well as a 173-acre industrial park being developed on land formerly owned by General Motors Co., Hill said.

“The nice part about that parcel is it’s already zoned industrial,” he said. The developers of the park hope to attract companies to supply the nearby GM plant, creating 1,500 to 2,000 jobs at the park.

During his presentation, Waddell shared what Newton Falls is doing to position itself for growth. “Newton Falls has really had a history of not really wanting to expand and grow,” he said.

Among the measures the city has taken is working with the Trumbull County Planning Commission to draft a new comprehensive plan. The city also is updating its zoning regulations and working with organizations that include the Regional Chamber and the Mahoning River Corridor Mayors Association, he said.

In addition, the city has property within its borders it’s trying to develop, he said. “The next time we have this meeting,” he promised, “we will have more positive things to talk about.”

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