M. Block's Jefferson City, TN ribbon cutting ceremony featured in Standard Banner
M. Block & Sons see Jefferson City as strategic location
BY STEVE MARION
Standard Banner Staff Writer
Wholesale distributor M. Block & Sons see Jefferson City as a strategic location for shipping coffee makers and other small appliances to retailers throughout the Southeast and the South.
Their new 500,000 square foot Jefferson City facility, which already employs 50 people, compliments existing hubs in Chicago and California and gives them easier reach to stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Belk, Macy’s, and many others, said President and CEO Bruce Levy during a ribbon-cutting and grand opening Tuesday afternoon.
"If someone had told me five years ago that we’d be in Tennessee, I might not have believed it," he said. "If someone had told me we would set up a new facility in 60 days, I really wouldn’t have believed it. But I’m delighted to be here and very proud of our team for making this happen."
In the warehouse behind him sat 700 truckloads of products sorted according to the company’s radial frequency system uses 24 processing lanes to direct boxes to the correct shipment. Scanners and barcodes help employees send each to the right place.
Jefferson City Mayor Mark Potts, County Mayor Alan Palmieri, members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, and others helped Levy and his employees slice a ribbon at the building on Flat Gap Road.
Founded in 1908 in Chicago, M. Block & Sons has about 400 employees, but rises to as many as 1,000 during the Christmas rush. Employment here will fall somewhere between 100 and 150 employees during what Levy and employees call "the season," between September and January. The company expanded to California in 1989. It now has a total of seven buildings amounting to two million square feet.
"This is a special event," Mayor Potts said of the ribbon-cutting. "It shows what we can accomplish when we work together."
"We look forward to many years of success for M. Block & Sons," said Mayor Palmieri. "We hope they’ll look to us as partners in their success."
M. Block is the leading distributor and provider of end-to-end supply chain logistics to retailers throughout the United States. Vendor partners include Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and their Keurig single serve coffee division, Proctor & Gamble, Kraft, Sensio, TristarProducts, Applica, Jarden Consumber Solutions, Blue Avocado, and Arc International.
"We’re looking forward to providing jobs here and being a good member of the local business community," said Levy. "This is the perfect place for us."
David Dewes, Vice Vresident of Operations, provided guided tours of the facility. He said as many as 35 trucks per day were unloaded to bring the warehouse to capacity. The company added new lighting, with sensors that turn off when not needed, and made other changes, but mostly found the building, previously occupied by a logistics center for lawn mowers, ready for use.
During remarks at the ribbon-cutting, Chamber President Don Cason said cooperation by the city and county were instrumental in the project, which falls within the goals of the "Building a Better Future" economic initiative. Cason said he is grateful to elected officials, the industrial board, and the Chamber’s Director of Economic Development Brad Maul.