Sales growth spurs MSC Industrial expansion at Fernley

The decision by MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc. to expand its distribution center and call center at Fernley reflects fast growth in the company's West Coast markets.

The company is adding 105,000 square feet to the facility, bringing its total to 410,000 square feet.

No employment will be added as a direct result of the additional space, although MSC Industrial Direct's workforce at the Fernley operation has grown approximately five-fold since it opened five years ago.

The company based at Deer Park, N.Y., posted more than $1 billion in sales last year, promising overnight delivery of more than 500,000 industrial supply items from its distribution centers across the United States.

The Fernley facility alone stocks more than 400,000 separate items, said Shelley Boxer, the company's vice president of finance. About 99 percent of customer orders can be filled immediately by MSC.

The center serves customers west of Fernley, along with a few in Utah, Boxer said, noting that those markets have been fast growing.

"The last few years have been really good for us, especially in the western United States," he said.

When MCS Industrial Direct purchased the land and built its initial 305,000-square-foot facility in Fernley in 2001, Boxer said the facility was under-utilized, especially as the economy softened.

It employed about 60 people when it opened. With recent growth, about 325 people work for the company at its northern Nevada facility.

With the economic recovery as well as the addition of call-center functions to the customer fulfillment operation, MCS needs more space.

The company has enough land, Boxer said, to expand even further if growth continues.

The Economic Development of Authority of Western Nevada, which worked with MSC Industrial, estimated the first-year economic impact of the expansion at $5.2 million.

The company has taken a bigger piece of the industrial supply market, Boxer said, by positioning itself as a one-stop supply house with one-day delivery.

MSC Industrial's catalog of merchandise from 2,100 suppliers runs to 4,700 pages. Along with its Web site, it distributes some 28 million brochures a year to its 342,000 customers.

The company runs fulfillment centers at Atlanta, Harrisburg, Penn., and Elkhart, Ind., in addition to it operation in northern Nevada.


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