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Keller Completing $5M Expansion

Toledo Business Journal, June 2014 – In 2013, Keller Logistics Group announced it was expanding its 410,000 square foot warehouse facility located in Napoleon, adding an extra 195,000 square feet on the company’s 40 acres of land.  This month will see the final results of that expansion.

“When it started, we were shooting for June as a completion date,” Adam Wagner of Keller Logistics stated. “We’re still on schedule.”

According to Keller Logistics CEO Bryan Keller, the idea was brought up for discussion in early 2013, and then “discussed heavily” by mid-year.  The Andersons Group, an architecture firm out of Defiance, helped with the design of the warehouse expansion, and the general contracting was handled by Spyker Contracting, also from Defiance.

“This is the largest building I’ve built for this company,” Keller shared.  “With this expansion, it brings us up to 1,000,000 square feet of space that we have just in northwest Ohio alone.”  According to official statistics, Keller Logistics Group and its affiliates, which include Keller Trucking and Keller Freight Solutions, the company has approximately three million square feet of space in facilities throughout the Midwest and the southern United States.  The company, now in its 36th year, also employs 250 people.

“We approach our [business] differently than most of our competitors”, Keller stated.  “With warehousing, we don’t consider our customer a square peg that needs to fit into a round hole.  Out service includes locating and implementing warehouse operations that complement our customer’s strategic plans.  Where they are, we go.”

The Napoleon warehouse, located off County Road 12 in Harrison Township, was previously occupied by TMT Warehouse.  The site was also formerly known as Southpoint Industrial Park.  Keller Logistics purchased the site in late 2011 and officially rebranded the site Keller Packaging of Napoleon, Inc.  The facility currently employs 55 people.  With the expansion, however, Keller anticipates that over the next year, 10 to 15 employees should be added.

Attention to the warehouse’s overall energy consumption was a concern, according to Keller.  In the new warehouse addition, Keller said that standard lighting would get a serious upgrade.

“All of the lights are going to be on motion sensors,” he noted.  “We swapped out the old switches for the sensors.  I think it’s going to be a very positive step for the warehouse.”

According to Keller’s estimates, just these subtle changes will help contribute to a 30% reduction in the site’s energy usage.

The completion of the Napoleon expansion is one of three highlights occurring for Keller Logistics Group this year.  Keller Warehousing & Distribution, and affiliate of Keller Logistics Group, in Defiance recently announced reaching 1,000 accident-free days at its facility.  The company has not experienced an accident at its Defiance warehouse since May 2011.  Given the nature of warehouse activity, there are numerous potential safety hazards that employees face every day.  In fact, according to a recent OSHA study, the fatal injury rate for the warehousing industry is higher than the national average rate across all industries.  “Going 1,000 days without a single accident is a testament to our warehousing team and their passion for workplace safety,” stated Bethanne Woodbury, Director of Safety for Keller Logistics Group.

“We have a huge emphasis on safety in this company across the board,” Keller added.  “So to get that kind of recognition just makes me very proud of these employees.”

The company also announced recently that it added three new distribution centers to its ranks.  The facilities, located in Whitehall, Ohio, Sugarland, Texas, and Statesville, North Carolina, “strategically complement the existing trucking and shuttle service route of [Keller’s] key customers,” according to a statement from the company.