Sierra Airfreight Express finds niche in the freight market
Sierra Airfreight Express (SAX), a locally owned and operated transportation company, is taking off in the freight transportation industry.
One of the areas the company specializes is in airfreight.
“There are not a lot of companies that are qualified to handle airfreight,” Andy Zarcone, owner and president of SAX, said.
All of the company’s drivers are TSA certified and can make drops and picks ups from not only the Reno airport but also the Sacramento and Bay Area airports.
“The airfreight market in Reno is limited because we have a smallish airport, there is not a lot of cargo that comes in and out,” Zarcone said.
In addition to its airfreight service, the company provides local and regional deliveries, nightly truck routes between northern California and northern Nevada and what is called hot shot service, which is the exclusive use of vehicles for urgent pick-ups and deliveries.
“In addition to our airfreight service, we are a general freight company,” Zarcone said. “You name it we’ve hauled it.”
SAX also has capitalized on another niche in the market in what is known in the industry as “white glove” delivery service. They deliver packages that cannot just be left on a doorstep. This includes time specific deliveries, large items like TVs that need to be assembled and tested, workout equipment, furniture that needs to be assembled and much more. Zarcone explained that about two-thirds of their business for this service are residential deliveries while the other third is business deliveries.
“The residential delivery service is a growing segment in our industry,” he said.
SAX was founded in 2003. The company has an approximately 11,000-square-foot warehouse located on Spice Island Drive in Sparks. While the company’s number of employees and trucks fluctuates throughout the year, it had around 27 employees at its peak last year and around 15 to 17 trucks.
Zarcone said one of the main ways SAX differentiate themselves is through the quality of service. As a locally owned and operated business, customers can call and speak directly to the owner.
SAX mainly works with national and international companies to deliver goods to customers in northern Nevada and northern California.
“Most (local) companies don’t know Sierra Airfreight Express because our customers aren’t in town,” Zarcone said.
They are working to change that and partner with more local companies.
“Reno is obviously booming right now and a lot of new companies are coming to town and a lot of them are looking for partners in the freight industry,” Zarcone said.
SAX works with local manufacturers and distributors as well as local small businesses that need to move goods but do not have the trucks to do so. This service can be more cost effective than using other large transportation companies.
While SAX is a regional freight company, Zarcone explained that they have the ability to provide service across the country through their network of partners. This network is made up businesses that are also locally owned and operated to maintain the same level of customer service.
Zarcone originally came to Reno to attend the University of Nevada, Reno. He graduated with a degree in logistics in 2000. He then went to work for a couple of high-tech firms in the Bay Area for several years. However, he and his wife were drawn back to Reno when looking to buy a house and start a family. Zarcone continued to work for an international tech company remotely for about 10 years.
In 2011, Zarcone decided to try his luck as a business owner. He learned that one of the original owners of SAX was looking to retire and felt that it was just the kind of opportunity he was looking for in the logistics industry.
“It was a good, solid company with a good track record and some good key employees,” Zarcone said.
He is now a majority stakeholder in the business and co-owns it along with one of the original founders, Lynn Werth.
“It has been a great five years, we nearly doubled in size and continue to grow every year,” he said.
As for the future of the company, Zarcone said his goal is to “take advantage of what the area is offering. I don’t think that there will be much of a slowdown in the economic development of northern Nevada and I think we just need to position ourselves to stay on top of that.”
For more information about Sierra Airfreight Express, visit http://www.sierraairfreightexpress.com or call 775-827-9989.
The unanimous approvals Wednesday came despite state leaders promising to tighten up requirements for Nevada’s tax abatements and incentives for future companies.