GREENFIELD — PL Cold, a division of Progressive Logistics (PL), debuted their 300,000-square-foot cold storage facility Thursday morning in Greenfield, right off the corner of CR W 300N and CR N 400W.
Doug Hayes, president and CEO of PL Cold and PL, said that they had seen a need in the market for more freezer space, so by creating PL Cold — the sister company to PL — and getting others involved, construction for the new facility began approximately a year ago. With construction being completed, PL Cold officially opened Dec. 1.
Hayes said the technology and design of the new facility helps ensure Safe Quality Foods (SQF), Organic, and American Institute of Baking (AIB) certifications for the customers.
PL Cold partnered with Ambrose Property Group to create a built-to-suit deep-frozen food storage facility next door to where the other PL facility sits, making it conveniently close for customers of PL and PL Cold.
Hayes said that their climate-controlled facility, meaning they keep the temperatures under 70 degrees and less than 50% humidity year-round, right next to their freezer facility separates them from others.
“I think we’re unique in that we strategically put these next to each other to handle all our customers needs, and what we’ve have seen is we have some customers … that will bring finished product here, to the freezer, and as they drop of finished product here, they will go next door and we will have their raw goods, their ingredients, which they will take to production and that cycle will continue,” Hayes said.
The new facility is equipped with 40 doors that are each outfitted with dock equipment that has a seal-like feature around the ends of trailers to keep the colder temperatures from escaping. The dock itself is approximately 100,000 square feet and is kept at 34 degrees.
Mark Teicher, vice president of operations for PL Cold, demonstrated how the doors allow for the equipment to have easy access so the drivers do not have to exit their cabs during the process.
“We are finding with all of the consolidation in the warehousing industry that the needs of the customer are being replaced by the wants of the larger warehouse networks. For PL Cold, customer service is and always will be the most important consideration,” said Teicher in the press release. “We have designed a building and trained our staff to ensure that we will be able to accurately and efficiently load trucks far more quickly than the industry standard time of two hours.”
Inside the three storage areas, temps can get as low as -10 degrees, and with their very narrow aisle (VNA) racking, they have vertically stored dock equipment that allows them to move within the smaller areas with more than 38,000 pallet positions, with the main room allowing for 20,000 of those positions.
According to the press release, “this refrigeration system provides temperature flexibility with the capacity to convert storage areas from freezer to cooler conditions based on customer needs.”
The facility can also house USDA import/export inspection capabilities and has an ALTA Refrigeration EXPERT system.
The release also said that the system utilizes non-hazardous synthetic refrigerant instead of the traditional ammonia-based system, which in return helps reduce energy consumption, water usage and delivers hands-free operation and monitoring.
Scott Sanders, Ambrose Vice President of Development and National Build-to-Suit Officer, has worked closely with PL Cold to customize the facility and said that while they focused on the clients needs, they also focused on customer needs. Ambrose also worked on the PL facility next door. In total, they have worked with five buildings in the Mt. Comfort Logistics Center.
Sanders said that everything that is installed in the facility is from a collaboration effort of the PL Cold team, ARCO Design/Build, the general contractor, and Ambrose.
Sanders said that there are a handful of items that make the PL Cold facility different from others in the area.
For the dock bay, Sanders said they spent extra to make them 80 feet deep instead of the usual 60 feet, allowing for more space to move quicker and stockpile more product.
Sanders also said that all the they have installed a dry double interlock fire protection system, which means that water is held outside in a tank and, if a fire is to happen, the system will charge those water pipes.
The facility also has office space and a locker room for workers who have to change into freezer gear, even in the summer.
Sanders said with the new cold storage facility, it brings diversity into the industrial space that has many dry warehouses and while it looks the same on the outside, the inside is completely different.
Sanders also said as long as consumerism moves up — online and in store — these buildings need to be built.
Hayes and Sanders both mentioned how bringing this facility to Greenfield increases tax dollars that go toward the community such as schools, police, fire and creates jobs for the community.
Once they become fully operational, Hayes said it’ll create up to 50-plus jobs.
Hayes said that they also give back to the community when they can, which includes working with and giving products to Gleaners Food Bank, helping support veterans and education programs such as STEM.
Hayes said had found the area in Greenfield for their first facility roughly two and half years ago after traveling to look at the already built building by Ambrose — now PL — and the land surrounding it for expansion. After getting their first facility, PL Cold and Ambrose started not long after to work on their next facility.
“…Because we already had in mind we wanted to do a freezer. Really, it was with Ambrose and that partnership that we landed out here,” Hayes said.
In the press release, Sanders said that Ambrose aims to meet all client needs, which means integrating modern technology and flexibility into their developments.
“We worked very closely with PL Cold to ensure the finished facility would meet the industry demand of both today and tomorrow,” said Sanders in the press release.