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VOL. 128 | NO. 18 | Monday, January 28, 2013


Chism Hardy Moves Deeper Into Logistics

By Bill Dries

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The certified public accountant who bought the old Coors Belle brewery in Hickory Hill seven years ago and turned it into Hardy Bottling Co. has taken the supply chain lessons from the business into the logistics industry.

Carolyn Hardy’s Chism Hardy Enterprises LLC sold the bottling company and plant to City Brewing Co. LLC of La Crosse, Wis., in 2011 in a $30 million deal.

Hardy remains a consultant to what is now Blues City Brewery, which continues to bottle the non-alcoholic beverages made under contract during her ownership as well as make and bottle a number of beer brands.

But acting for the Hardy Family Trust, Hardy has moved the company into logistics in a big way in the last year.

Carolyn Hardy’s Chism Hardy Enterprises has moved into logistics in a big way. her company recently bought land for a trans-loading and docking facility.

(Daily News File Photo: Lance Murphey)

Late last year, the Memphis City Council and Shelby County Commission approved the sale of 33.6 acres of land in the Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park to the Hardy Family Trust. The trust paid $403,980 for the land, which comes to $12,000 an acre.

It is the last available roadside acreage in the park where trucks carrying intermodal containers dominate the traffic. Hardy is building in the same neighborhood as the Canadian National Railway Co. intermodal facility to store and stage the modular containers.

“We’re not just putting trucks over there,” she told the commission in December. “We are building a trans-loading and docking facility. … It is hard to locate that outside the park.”

Chism Hardy Enterprises was already running an intermodal yard in Hickory Hill when the opportunity to buy the land in Pidgeon Industrial Park came up.

The roads in the industrial park are rated and built for heavier truckloads. Those heavier loads can’t travel across most bridges and the park is one of the few routes where the loads don’t have to cross a bridge.

The Mallory Road interchange into the area recently reopened after a modification to make it easier for the rigs to negotiate what had been some narrow turns in what is the most used entrance into the industrial park.

By late last year, Hardy had two customers interested in using such a service and she had a $5 million investment secured provided she could buy the land through the Memphis-Shelby County Port Commission.

She did not seek any tax incentives for a facility that would create 230 new jobs when it is in full operation.

“I try to expand and look for projects that create new jobs,” she said. “I realize I’m not Canadian National or Nucor. But if you create a hundred jobs over and over, you will eventually get to that number over time. I am totally committed to Memphis.”

She was also totally committed to the right deal for selling the bottling plant, rejecting an earlier deal with Yuengling & Son Inc. even as Yuengling executives were describing it as a done deal.

Hardy signed confidentiality agreements that prevent her from talking about her decision.

But answering a general question about making decisions shortly after the City Brewing deal, Hardy said she counsels against being rushed to make a deal.

“When you say that, I’m out of the game,” she added. “People need to understand that if one person approaches you with an opportunity, somebody else is going to approach you.”

That was what happened with City Brewing, which had originally tried to buy the old Coors plant in 2006 when Hardy put together her business plan.

Hardy’s role as a consultant is not just a term in a contract either.

When City Brewing executives held job fairs and most of the applicants didn’t make the cut, Hardy got involved in creating specific job training programs through Southwest Tennessee Community College and the federally funded Workforce Investment Network.

“We don’t tell people that when they weren’t successful that they failed,” she said of the right way to find workers. “They need to look at other things. … We’re trying to help them find a better fit.”

The brewery put together the specific training curriculum and got the workers it needed and the same blueprint is being used to hire workers at the Electrolux North America Manufacturing Plant in Pidgeon Industrial Park that is now months away from a full opening.

Hardy is also working as a consultant to The Marino Group, which repairs and maintains intermodal containers. The company, based in New York, plans to put its Memphis operation on 30.4 acres of land in Hickory Hill at 4530 Clarke Road. It is near a BNSF Railway switchyard.

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