FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After more than a year of construction, WANE 15 is getting its first look inside Sweetwater’s massive new distribution center.
The $52.5 million facility offers nearly 480,000 square feet of usable space and has a footprint of almost 7 acres.
According to Sweetwater officials, the new warehouse will allow the company to better serve its customers and accommodate for continued growth.
“Customers are expecting to place an order at six o’clock and have it put on a FedEx truck before nine o’clock and have it to their house possibly tomorrow,” said John Hopkins, Sweetwater’s chief operating officer. “So the customer expectation level continues to rise and we keep wanting to meet that.”
The extra space will have a significant impact on inventory capabilities at the already-large campus on U.S. 30. It’ll allow Sweetwater to process and ship more than twice the capacity of the previous space.
The new facility also features state-of-the-art technology that was custom-built by Sweetwater’s IT team to allow the warehouse to process, fill, and deliver orders faster.
Sweetwater isn’t done yet though.
The company will break ground on a new conference center this July. The planned $31 million project will provide a banquet and meeting space for the company and the community. It’s expected to be complete in the summer of 2021.
In the meantime, Sweetwater will also do $20 million of additional construction work and renovations between April 2020 and February 2021.
That’ll include the renovation of the existing warehouse attached to the main building. Sweetwater will convert that space into more offices for the expanding sales and marketing staff.
Sweetwater’s total sales in 2019 were $805 million, up 11% from $725 million in 2018, which was also a record-breaking year. Sweetwater’s annual total sales increases have ranged from 11% to 28% every year since 2010.
“I think we’ll grow as big as we can drive the business,” said Jeris Noye, Senior vice president of logistics. “We’re currently growing at what most retailers would consider an amazingly unreal clip and we’re hoping that number continues.”
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