Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) opened its newest distribution center, its fourth in the U.S., on May 17 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Groveport.
The Fullerton, Calif.-based tire maker said the 650,000-sq.-ft. facility near Columbus, Ohio, will supply customers in the northeastern U.S., an area previously served by the company's distribution center near Atlanta. The new facility can accommodate up to 1 million tires, Yokohama said, making it the firm's largest distribution center.
``Columbus...is located within 500 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. population,'' said Takahara Fushimi, vice president of operations and chief financial officer for Yokohama. ``There's a strong business case for building here. We think Columbus is the most attractive location geographically, with a favorable real estate market, so it makes for an easy business decision.''
The grand opening ceremony included a Japanese sake barrel-breaking ceremony-called ``kagami biraki''-to signify the beginning of a new business endeavor. According to tradition, breaking the barrel with a wooden mallet and letting the rice wine splash out brings blessings and good luck to the community, Yokohama said. A Japanese maple tree also was planted at the site.
The distribution center is expected to create up to 50 jobs in the area. Yokohama is leasing the facility, which is in the Opus Business Center in Groveport.
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp were on hand to help cut the ribbon, Yokohama said, along with YTC President and CEO Norio Karashima and other top YTC executives.
Yokohama also has distribution centers in Auburn, Ga., Atlanta and Fullerton, Calif., to service its network of more than 4,500 points of sale in the U.S.