Ferguson Enterprises Inc., a nationwide wholesale plumbing supply distributor, will move from its Milwaukee location on South 108th Street to a larger West Allis plant in May.
The new location will enable Ferguson to expand its product lines and introduce a Kohler Premier Showroom.
Ferguson has outgrown its current 21,000 square-foot facility, according to Michael Draper, the company’s general manager for southeastern Wisconsin.
Ferguson will have nearly three times more room once settled in at the 55,000-square-foot plant at 2030 S. 116th St.
"The new facility will allow for growth in our inventory breadth," Draper said. "The current facility is smaller and older than the one we are moving to, and we are running out of room, as our company continues to add employees and products."
Draper said Ferguson contacted Trent Poole, a broker for The Polacheck Co., Milwaukee, in search of a larger location and was directed toward Paul Votto, president of Burke Properties, Milwaukee, a residential and commercial development company.
"We work directly with tenants looking to further meet their special needs," Votto said. "Ferguson laid out their requirements, and we felt the square footage and the height of the interior of the building were a good fit for storing supplies and material."
Votto purchased the property under Burke West Allis LLC and contracted a lease agreement with Ferguson. Poole and Rand Wolf were brokers for Polacheck representing the buyer, and Jim Young from James T. Barry Co. brokered the sale for the seller, Forman Realty.
Ferguson is based in Newport News, Va., and currently has 12 Wisconsin locations. The company has resided on West Boden Street in Milwaukee since 1999 and opened its second Milwaukee location on 108th street in 2001, when it purchased Westburne Supply Inc., according to Draper.
Ferguson plans to move to West Allis once two renovation projects are completed.
"Our efficiencies will improve with the larger building," Draper said. "Corporate is doing warehouse realignment. We will have separate receiving and shipping stages in the warehouse that will help keep us organized, and more space overall will help."
The extra space in the new facility will provide enough room for a 3,000-square-foot showroom displaying the various mechanical, industrial, plumbing and building products Ferguson carries.
The Kohler Premier Showroom will be the only one of its kind in the Milwaukee area and will fill 1,500 square-feet with products geared toward high-end construction and remodeling, according to Draper.
"The Premier is one step above a regular Kohler showroom," said Draper. "There are more working displays, televisions showing videos of products in use, hardwood floors, artwork. It is just a nicer, different way to display products."
Ferguson mainly distributes products for plumbing and mechanical trades, residential construction, schools, apartment buildings, hotels and industrial plants, according to Draper.
The 50-year-old business is owned by Wolseley plc., a distribution company based in England, and employs 12,000 people nationwide. Ferguson will continue to add products, locations and employees as part of the corporate growth goal to double the company in size nationally every five years.
Combined, the two Milwaukee-area locations combined have hired 12 new employees over the last five months and plan to add more to the staff of 47 in the future.
"We are planning to continue growth and will be adding a third location in the next two years," Draper said. "More facilities equals more square footage per product."
Feb. 6, 2004 Small Business Times, Milwaukee