ASTORIA, N.Y. — Max Finkelstein Inc. continues to build and refine its distribution footprint, opening a purpose-built distribution center in Northborough, Mass., designed to improve service to customers throughout New England.
The 106,000-sq.-ft. warehouse in Northborough, a town of about 15,000 residents an hour's drive west of Boston, replaces an older facility in nearby Hyde Park, Mass., according to Sean Franciscus, chief operating officer for Astoria-based Max Finkelstein.
The location, which opened for business March 1, was built to take advantage of evolving automation Finkelstein has been developing, Mr. Franciscus said, allowing the wholesaler to utilize a facility's size more efficiently.
In the case of the Northborough, the new facility can house 35% to 40% more units in a slightly smaller footprint, Mr. Franciscus said, in part because Finkelstein specified a 30-foot building height to accommodate more storage.
In addition, Finkelstein is taking full advantage of radio frequency ID (RFID) tracking to automate sorting and storage to a high degree.
The Northborough facility supports smaller, satellite D/Cs in Lewiston, Maine, and Randolph, Vt.
This is the third warehouse Finkelstein has opened in the past three years.
Last year it added a 615,000-sq.-ft. mixing facility in Myerstown, Pa., and in 2019 — the company's centennial year — a 116,000-sq.-ft. structure in Findlay Township, Pa., just east of the Pittsburgh Airport.
Finkelstein specified a 52-ft. building height at that facility in order to accommodate 42-ft.-high tire storage units, Mr Franciscus said, yielding a capacity of up to 1.6 million tires there. The Myerstown warehouse is considered a master distribution hub that Finkelstein is using to supply its 15 other regional D/Cs, he added.
The Findlay Township site shored up service to customers in Western Pennsylvania as well as parts of West Virginia and Ohio.
Myerstown is a small community located northwest of Philadelphia between Harrisburg and Reading, Pa., with ready access to the interstate highway network.
Finkelstein did not disclose its investments in the various facilities. It leases most of its warehouses but does own a few of the properties as well.
In addition, Finkelstein last year added the Cooper and Mastercraft brands to its consumer tire brand portfolio to shore up its Tier 2 and 3 brand offerings, and the company launched Max Edge, a program designed to encourage customers to tap into expertise its vendor partners have to offer.
Max Edge is a free information exchange program that provides business support and tools to the Finkelstein customer based, according to Kirk Feinswog, director of marketing for the New York wholesaler.
The goal of Max Edge, he explained, is "to be a partner with our customers," helping them understand and have access to business tools available for improving their business acumen.
"We want customers to think of us as more than just a tire supplier," Mr. Feinswog said.
To effect the program, Finkelstein taps its suppliers of products and services other than tires — social media/technology, for example, or shop equipment, business software/services, etc.
Finkelstein planned to launch the program in April 2020, but COVID-19 delayed that launch and forced a rethink to make it a virtual information exchange, Mr. Feinswog.
The company now hosts Wednesday webinars every two to three weeks, with a vendor making a 20-minute presentation and then engaging in a question-and-answer period.
The Cooper and Mastercraft tire brands complement Finkelstein's current portfolio, which includes: Americus, Bridgestone, Carlisle, Dunlop, Falken, Firestone, Fuzion, Goodride, Goodyear, GT Radial, Kelly, Kenda, Kumho, Mickey Thompson, Ohtsu, Pirelli and Presa.
The company distributes to customers throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic from 16 "strategically located" distribution centers.