Refrigerated-warehousing firm plans $13.6M expansion, 65 new jobs

Merchandise Warehouse announced Thursday morning that it plans to add up to 65 jobs by 2019 as part of a $13.6 million expansion of its headquarters on the south side of Indianapolis.

The third-party logistics firm, which specializes in temperature-controlled warehousing, said it will build a 90,000-square-foot, 50-foot-tall addition to its food-grade facility at 1414 S. West St.—a move that will boost its capacity by 25 percent.

The project will allow the company to meet increased demand from its largest client, a food processor supplying restaurants across the country that it did not identify, as well as new customers.

Merchandise Warehouse, which currently has 69 full-time workers, said it plans to begin hiring for the new positions, which will include forklift operators and supervisors, in August. The company said it is committed to continuing to hire many of its employees through the Edna Martin Christian Center, which provides job training services and employment coaching for adults in need of assistance.

“Indianapolis remains the ‘Crossroads of America,’ and we continue to see a growing demand for our services, due not only to the nature and quality of the service we provide, but because of our location,” CEO Tim Siddiq said in a prepared statement. “It made sense when we decided on expanding to stay right here and build upon our strong team and take advantage of the excellent business climate.”

The 65-year-old firm, which is in its third generation of family ownership, said its investment also will fund technology upgrades, including a robotics system using conveyors and pallet shuttles to select goods stored in racks 33 pallets deep and six lanes high. In addition to operating its food-grade warehouse on South West Street, the company runs an industrial warehouse at 3000 Shelby St.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Merchandise Warehouse up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job-creation plans. The credits are performance-based, meaning the company is not eligible to claim incentives until workers are hired.

IBJ first reported the expansion in November, when a tax abatement request from the company was pending before the Department of Metropolitan Development. The application, which won approval, is estimated to save the company $902,000 over eight years.

In its filing with the city, Merchandise Warehouse said existing workers make about $20 per hour and that new ones will earn about $15 an hour.

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