University Wholesalers Inc. is setting up a 108,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Colchester, where the independent tire wholesaler will consolidate its headquarters and warehousing from four separate locations around the area next summer when the facility is expected to be ready.
The $4 million project involves the purchase of a 58,000-sq.-ft. facility on a 47-acre lot and the construction of a 50,000-sq.-ft. addition to the existing building, according to University Wholesalers President Robert Hepp. The contractors should break ground soon on access roads to the facility, and the expanded warehouse should be ready by July 2003.
The new warehouse will have about 35,000 more square feet of storage space than what exists at the firm's four separate locations now, Mr. Hepp said. In addition, the new facility will have 45-foot high ceilings, providing for even greater storage and flexibility, he said.
The move reflects both increased business this past year and anticipated growth in the coming years, Mr. Hepp said. University Wholesalers-a Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Starz distributor in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and a Nokian distributor for New England, New York and Pennsylvania-will report record sales this year of nearly $25 million, he said.
The company has seen growth in both these dealer programs in the past year, and the early snowfalls in New England led to record November sales of $5 million, he said.
University Wholesalers has nearly doubled the number of its TireStarz accounts in the past two years to more than 60, and Mr. Hepp said he's planning to expand the TireStarz program into eastern Massachusetts in the coming year.
The company also operates a warehouse in Schenectady, N.Y.