VOL. 112 | NO. 106 | Friday, June 19, 1998
By Kathleen Burt
By Kathleen Burt
A Memphis company that runs off other's hunger is experiencing its own growth spurt.
Construction is underway on a 7,000-square-foot warehouse for Oasis Snack Foods. Norm Stubbs, president of the company, said that work should be completed by Sept. 1.
It's just another step for the company that provides about 2,000 snack trays on the honor system for working Memphians and maintains another 400 coin-operated vending machines.
Oasis Snack Foods got its start about eight years ago in a ``tiny matchbox'' location on Viscount near Getwell. A year later, Oasis purchased the snack division of ARA, a competitor is the honor system market. In 1993, Oasis moved to its present location on North Shelby Oaks Drive.
Stubbs said the company maintains two warehouses with a total of 4,000 square feet. The new warehouse on Fletcher Creek Drive, off Whitten Road, will almost double that size and bring all the operations under one roof. In addition to more space, Oasis will have room to do vending machine repair, a service not offered in the past.
Oasis is the lone remaining vending company that provides snack foods on the honor system, Stubbs said. The premise is simple, provide a variety of chips, candy bars, cookies, nuts and health foods on an open tray in a break room or other accessible area. Patrons drop their coins and make their choice. No electricity needed, no chance of snacks getting stuck and no chance of mechanical malfunction.
Stubbs said that his company stocks about 200 different snack items and serves such major firms as Federal Express, Methodist Healthcare, Union Planters and First Tennessee, just to name a few. First Tennessee is financing the $500,000 project. Chris Woods Construction is the general contractor.
Oasis purchased the property about a year ago. Stubbs said he saw the area around Whitten Road as a growing area with lots of potential for businesses.
``They're doing a lot of big things in that area. Whitten Road used to be a sleepy 2-lane road, now it's seven lanes with all new bridges and entrances and exits,'' Stubbs said. ``Raleigh-LaGrange has been extended to Whitten and Stage Road...Whitten is now a big artery to the freeway.''
Stubbs said the improved infrastructure brings interstate access within a stone's throw of his front door.
And with the growth of the area, Stubbs anticipates growth in his business. The warehouse improves from two overhead doors to seven, one dock and six grade level. Currently, the company employees 22 people, but there is space to expand those operations as needed, he said.
# $ %