Athens Distributing Co.’s Memphis branch is on the grow, adding a substantial amount of warehouse space and investing in more modern equipment.
Construction began April 1 for an additional 53,700-square-foot warehouse adjacent to the wine and spirits wholesaler and distributor’s warehouse at 905 James St.
Athens’ 905 James site already includes a 91,568-square-foot warehouse built in 1973 and improved in 1997. The Nashville-based company is privately held and has been run by four generations of family members.
Brands that Athens distributes include Yellow Tail, Penfold’s, Woodford Reserve, The Little Penguin and Canadian Mist.
The Memphis presence is Athens’ third market and its largest, with 21 counties in its service area. The new space will allow busting-at-the-seams Athens to update equipment, said Phillip Aviotti, who oversees the Memphis office.
“We’ve been behind the times technology speaking, and so we need a little bit more space to put the proper equipment in, for the most part,” Aviotti said. “We’ve been kind of falling all over each other around here for years because we didn’t have enough space, so we’re finally just trying get the space that we have needed for a long time.”
Linkous Construction Co. Inc. is the general contractor for the project, which is scheduled to be complete by Sept 15. The architect for the project is Thoda & Associates PLLC. The Reaves Firm Inc. is providing engineering services.
This represents Linkous’ second project with Athens, following the completion of its last facility at the same site in 2002.
“They contacted us and said, ‘We’re considering building an addition and we’d like for you guys to handle that for us,’” said Linkous director of business development Rusty Linkous. “We’ve been working together for a few months in the design and pre-construction of this building to meet their needs and to allow them to utilize some new technology, which helps accommodate their growth that they’ve seen.”
Linkous said the space will be “temp-controlled,” meaning air-conditioned for Athens’ product storage that requires specific temperature. Construction will also have to accommodate an extension of Athens’ conveying and material handling system.
“That’s just working with the owner to make sure that their conveying and material handling operations are the most efficient they can be with their operations,” Linkous said.
At any given time through September, the site will employ anywhere from 75 to 100 construction jobs including sub-contractors.
Linkous said it’s relationships like the one his firm has with Athens that are the ultimate goal in the construction business.
“About 80 percent of our business on an annual basis is completed with repeat clients, and that is a great example of how we build a relationship with the client,” Linkous said. “That’s our goal from day one because we want to make sure that they contact us for any future building needs.”