The Equipment Depot team and guests at the ribbon cutting in Itasca
Equipment Depot Ltd has moved two existing forklift dealership operations to customer-centric facilities in Itasca, Illinois and San Antonio, Texas.
"Our goal is to be the number one service provider in the industry," says Ken Branham, vice president of sales and marketing for the Houston-based firm.
Equipment Depot branches in 10 US states represent 17 forklift brands and seven aerial work platform brands. About 25% of Equipment Depot's business involves aerial lifts.
"The industry is coming back," says Branham, who hears that original equipment manufacturers project possible year-over-year increases of 3-4%, with expectations to sell at least 205,000 units of materials handling equipment during 2014. "That would be a high water mark that we have hit twice before," Branham notes.Itasca
Nighttime view of new San Antonio showroom
Equipment Depot began operations in Itasca on 10 March and held a well-attended grand opening earlier this month.
Jeff Pruyn, mayor of the Village of Itasca, and David Turner, Equipment Depot Ltd CEO and president and Pon Holdings executive board member, participated in the ceremonial ribbon cutting to officially open the facility. Previously, door systems supplier Konematic Inc occupied the building.
In addition to the new Itasca site, branches in Illinois include Burr Ridge, Grayslake, Rockford and Bartonville near Peoria. A related Wisconsin branch is in Madison.
"(In proximity to the previous leased Elgin facility), we are 23 mi. (37 km) east and south and now centrally located in the middle of our service area to better serve our customer base," says Jim Kelly, Itasca branch general manager. "We are now more efficient and in the right-sized building to match our needs." Itasca has 60,000 sqft. (5,574 sqm) and Elgin had 110,000 sqft. (10,219 sqm).
Equipment Depot retained all employees in the transition. About 60 staff are connected with the location, with some having shared obligations to the Grayslake and Burr Ridge branches. "About half of the 60 are technicians, and we have five truck drivers," Kelly says.San Antonio
Equipment Depot moved its San Antonio branch 12 mi. (19 km) in late April to a larger facility adjacent to the city's high profile Texas 1604 highway loop.
Previously housing a boat dealership, the new location has about 31,000 sqft. (2,880 sqm) with high ceilings and extensive use of glass for the walls, says Jason Havens, San Antonio branch general manager. The former facility in San Antonio occupied approximately 16,000 sqft. (1,486 sqm).
"All of our 52 employees made the move with us, and we have added three technicians since the move as a result of added capacity," Havens reports.
Equipment Depot is planning a grand opening event for the San Antonio branch on 4 September.
In addition to the corporate office in Houston and the new San Antonio location, Equipment Depot's west region has other Texas branches in Austin, Beaumont, Brazosport in Angleton, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Longview, McAllen, Sherman and Waco.
"Texas is one of our biggest markets," Branham says. "The infrastructure growth is phenomenal and keeps us busy. We want to expand in that area."
Equipment Depot is an operation of privately held Pon Holdings BV of Nijkerk, the Netherlands. Pon employs nearly 13,000 staff in 28 countries.