Make us your home page
Instagram

Wal-Mart Distribution Center's success linked to new stores, online sales

The Wal-Mart Distribution Center added about 130 employees to its workforce in 2012 as activity at the facility increased about 15 percent, according to a company official. And Wal-Mart expects more growth over the next five years.

MAURICE RIVENBARK | Times (2004)

The Wal-Mart Distribution Center added about 130 employees to its workforce in 2012 as activity at the facility increased about 15 percent, according to a company official. And Wal-Mart expects more growth over the next five years.

BROOKSVILLE — At the December meeting of the Hernando County Metropolitan Planning Organization, Toby Gray, general manager of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center on Kettering Road, delivered some good news about his company and its future in Hernando.

Gray told MPO members that Wal-Mart's plans over the next five years are of a grand enough scale that county and state transportation officials will need to take a serious look at how to handle increases in vehicle traffic on the county's east side.

The numbers that Gray offered up point to an optimistic future both for Wal-Mart and the county. By 2018, the corporation expects to add 31 locations to the 103 stores the 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center currently services in Central Florida. And that will mean increased truck traffic on the well-traveled stretch of State Road 50 that connects the county with Orlando.

But perhaps more important, said county business development director Michael McHugh, is that Wal-Mart sees its Hernando operation as a vital link to its growth plans.

"Year after year, the Brooksville facility is consistently among the highest-performing Wal-Mart distribution centers in the country when it comes to efficiency," McHugh said. "To me, that's a reflection on our workforce. That's always great news for us and our local workforce."

As the county's largest private employer, Wal-Mart has steadily increased its local workforce, despite the sputtering economy in recent years. According to Gray, the distribution center's overall activity grew about 15 percent in 2012. The facility added about 130 employees to its existing 1,000-member workforce.

And while Gray said there are no plans to increase the physical size of the facility, the company continues its growing focus on online sales, which are handled out of the Hernando distribution center.

Wal-Mart originally planned to build its first Florida distribution center in Winter Haven in the early 1990s. But residents there opposed the move and accused the city of Winter Haven of improperly approving land-use changes for Wal-Mart, according to a lawsuit filed at the time.

During the delay, Hernando County made a successful play for the center. An executive from the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative called Bentonville, Ark., to ask Wal-Mart executives to consider property that WREC owned on Kettering Road in the Ridge Manor area.

The County Commission rezoned the site for the distribution center, lined up $2-million in state grants to pave and widen nearby roads and installed water and sewer lines to accommodate the company.

Although much of the land surrounding the distribution center remains empty due to ownership issues, McHugh said the county continues to actively court other corporations looking to follow Wal-Mart's lead.

That effort was helped last year when the state Department of Transportation announced it would accelerate its plan to widen Interstate 75 to six lanes from Florida's Turnpike south through the Tampa Bay area, including a stretch through Hernando County.

"Other companies already know what Wal-Mart has accomplished," McHugh said. "The door is wide open for that kind of success."

Logan Neill can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1435.

Wal-Mart Distribution Center's success linked to new stores, online sales 03/16/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 1:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: Amid wealth inequality, is middle class losing habit of giving to charities?

    Business

    In the slow economic recovery since the nasty recession a decade ago, researchers are wondering if the hard times back then broke middle class America's habit of charitable giving.

    Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife and fellow doctor Pallavi Patel rank among the most generous philanthropists in the Tampa Bay area in recent decades. Their most recent giving: a $200 million pledge, consisting of a $50 million gift to Nova Southeastern University, plus $150 million to buy and build a Nova-affiliated medical education complex in Clearwater. The Patels also have given considerable sums to the University of South Florida and area hospitals. In this 2014 photo, the couple pose for pictures on the green carpet prior to a 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards event in Tampa. [Times file photo]
  2. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17

    Business

    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  3. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion

    Retail

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]
  4. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion

    Briefs

    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 


  5. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.
[SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]