Joseph DiSorbo, chief executive officer of Webgistix, walked through an utterly empty warehouse at 974 United Circle in Sparks last week, mentally picturing the locations of racks and conveyer belts.
Only one desk and two chairs sat in the office. Internet cables DiSorbo's first priority after his company leased the building dangled from ceilings.
But in barely more than six weeks, DiSorbo expects that a brand-new team of workers will making their first shipments from the Webgistix distribution center.
The 70,000-square-foot facility marks further development of the Reno area's growing presence in the business of e-fulfillment filling online orders placed by individual consumers.
Unlike traditional warehouses in the region with their pallet-sized shipments to the receiving docks of stores, e-commerce facilities ship individual items to consumers.
And unlike the big e-commerce centers beginning to dot the northern Nevada landscape from retailers such as Urban Outfitters, Toys 'R' Us and Diapers.com, Webgistix provides third-party e-commerce logistics to medium-sized retailers.
Typically, DiSorbo says, those retailers don't want to get into the costs and hassles of e-commerce logistics on their own but need the same sort of top-flight service as their larger competitors.
Webgistix, a Las Vegas company that also operates e-commerce distribution centers in New York State and Georgia, promises two-day delivery of Internet orders and guarantees order-picking accuracy for its clients.
Once the center in Sparks is at full operation, DiSorbo expects it will be handling orders for more than 100 companies. Employment will reach about 50 within two years, he says, and will include management, customer-service and information-technology positions in addition to warehouse jobs.
A strong pool of experienced workers in the logistics industry helped draw Webgistix to the Reno area.
"We know that they want to be in the space. That helps a lot," says DiSorbo. The region's strong transportation infrastructure including the nearby UPS hub also helped.
While DiSorbo had been thinking about a Reno location for several years, he got more serious after he talked with representatives of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada at an Internet retailing trade show in San Diego.
Says Stan Thomas, EDAWN's vice president of business development: "He came to us with a ton of questions, and we answered them all."
Brad Lancaster of Miller Industrial Properties represented Webgistix in its real estate negotiations with ProLogis, owner of the United Circle property.