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Case Studies

Case Study: Crate and Barrel

Published: April 2, 2009

John Ling, VP Supply Chain, Management and Logistics

Tell us about your buildings in Lincoln County: Crate and Barrel is a national households retailer.  We built a 400,000 square foot distribution center in 2004 and are about to complete an additional 360,000 square foot distribution center that is the first LEED certified distribution center in North Carolina.  The building is able to be expanded  to over 800,000 square feet.  Approximate acreage of the two sites totals over 100 acres.

Crate and Barrel’s Lincoln County sites are the Southeast Region Distribution Warehouse and Vendor Consolidation Centers and are located in the Lincoln County Industrial Park on Highway 321.  Crate and Barrel currently employs 55 at their existing facility.

What brought you to Lincoln County: The most important criteria were proximity to our vendor base, development costs (which were extremely competitive) and workforce availability.

What process did you undertake to make your site selection:  We went through a comprehensive logistics network study.  Again, the biggest strengths that were evident in Lincoln County were the availability and quality of the applicants for our associate positions.

What were the challenges faced in your relocation: none that I can recall.

Do you have any suggestions for other companies considering Lincoln: It’s a friendly county with strong emphasis on distribution and manufacturing – highly recommended.

Case Study: Sabo USA, Inc.

Published: January 12, 2009

Company Name: Sabo USA, Inc.
Description of Company and its function in Lincoln County: Manufacturer of oil seals for the automotive industry

When did you locate in Lincoln County: 2007

Number of Acres upon which Lincoln County facility is located: 13 acres

Total Square Feet of Building(s) in Lincoln County: 40,000 sqft

Number of Employees: 30 (increasing to 80 in 2009)

What brought you to Lincoln County? Location – Charlotte’s International Airport makes it convenient for visiting (and being visited by) our customers in the Detroit area and to get to our headquarters in Brazil and our sister companies in Europe. Also, access to I-85 and I-40 through US321 (plus the fact that the county is centrally located in the East Coast) was also a consideration since it allows us to have our truck shipments to any of our customers delivered within 48 hours.
Workforce – the ready availability of qualified employees played an important role in our decision.
Training accessibility – Lincoln County’s relationship with Gaston College and the promotion and support of training greatly facilitated our decision to locate here.
LEDA – LEDA claimed (and proved) to facilitate installation and providing a friendly business environment. We checked the claims with other manufacturers in the area and everyone assured us (which were proved to be true) that LEDA helped “cut through the bureaucracy.”

What process did you undertake to make your site selection? We started by evaluating Mexico sites – e.g. Puebla, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Cuernavaca, etc. Even though the industrial parks resembled those in the United States, we quickly learned that only parks with large American companies presented the same benefits. Once you left those “American” parks all amenities disappeared.
We then designed a matrix that listed all our expectations for the site – e.g. location in relation to customers, location in relation to suppliers, tax incentives, right-to-work states (or not), access to airports, access to sea ports, plant closings in the last 5 years, plant openings in the last 5 years, etc.
This matrix lead us to 6 states (Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, and Virginia). We visited these states and chose certain areas as preferred areas (e.g. Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, Birmingham, etc.). Charlotte was chosen as the preferred area in North Carolina. We then ended up with three counties in the Charlotte region – Gaston, Lincoln, and Cleveland.
Finally, we visited potential industrial parks in these three counties and after a long deliberation decided that Lincoln County provided the most complete package.

What were the strengths of the relocation process in Lincoln County? Ease of moving through bureaucracy. Help in the recruitment phase. Support in the training of employees.

What were the challenges faced in your relocation? Employees were not versed in our product type – metal and rubber. They came either from the furniture or fabric business. Again, training became crucial and both Lincoln County and Gaston College proved to be ready to help.

Do you have any suggestions for other companies considering Lincoln County? I believe that the availability of those current in the county is one the strongest selling points the County offers. In other words, it is quite reassuring when a potential newcomer talks to someone that went through the process recently and he or she is assured that the promises are fulfilled.