M. Block featured on front page of The Standard Banner of Jefferson County, TN
M. Block & Sons coming to Jefferson City
Illinois firm to occupy 500,000 square foot distribution center
BY DALE GENTRY
Standard Banner Editor
June 7, 2011
Jefferson County's largest vacant commercial building will soon be humming with activity again.
M. Block & Sons, Inc. - a leading provider of supply chain distribution and logistics - signed a lease last week to occupy the 500,000 square foot warehouse and distribution center in Jefferson City formerly used by John Deere.
The company, headquartered in Bedford Park, Illinois, eventually expects to employ over 100 people, and will begin the hiring process with a job fair later this month to recruit prospective employees. The facility, located at 1400 Flat Gap Road, should be fully operational by August 1, 2011.
The distribution center has been empty since October 30, 2009, when John Deere vacated the facility and consolidated all of its operations in Greeneville. Opened in late 2002, the $13 million facility had been operated for seven years by Warehouse Logistics, which was under contract to handle shipping of the line of lower-cost John Deere mowers sold at big box stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot.
In contrast to the former tenant, M. Block & Sons will use the building as a point of distribution for a large variety of customers in the southern and southeastern portion of the United States - not just one.
"We're excited to see a company like M. Block make a commitment to Jefferson County," said Brad Maul, Di-rector of Economic Development for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. "We feel like this is just the be-ginning of a long-standing relationship that can grow."
"With the recent announcement of lay-offs in surrounding counties, any time we can add close to 100 jobs over the next 12 months in Jefferson County, it's an exciting thing."
Maul said M. Block & Sons signed an initial three-year lease on the facility, with an additional four-year option. The distribution center is being sub-leased from Deere, which allows M. Block to pick up the tax abatement Deere had originally negotiated with the county. That agreement calls for payment of 25 percent of property taxes through 2013, then 100 percent in 2014 and beyond.
M. Block will make several improvements to the building over the coming months, Maul added.
The company, founded in 1908, is a leading distributor of consumer products to retailers throughout the United States. Vendor partners include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and their Keurig single serve coffee division, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft, Sensio, Tristar Products, Inc., Applica, Inc., Jarden Consumer Solutions, Blue Avocado, and Arc International. Major retail accounts include Bed Bath and Beyond, Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penney, Macy's, Costco, Kohl's and other leading home retailers.
M. Block uses a unique approach of combining traditional services together with value-added support services - all wrapped around a unified state-of-the-art information technology platform - to provide manufacturers and retailers with the most complete and comprehensive distribution supply chain infrastructure available.
M. Block & Sons also manages distribution centers in Redlands, California and Bedford Park, Illinois.
With the opening of the Jefferson City facility, the company will now have 1.9 million square feet of distribution center space in three locations across the United States.
About five different companies had shown interest in the former Deere facility in recent months, Maul said. M. Block & Sons first visited in December, and continued working with local officials until a lease agreement could be reached.