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VOL. 133 | NO. 171 | Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Growing Medical Device Company Expands in Memphis Again

Special to The Daily News

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A fast-growing company that provides logistics for medical-device firms is more than tripling the size of its Memphis operation just two years after making Memphis its flagship for North America.

A building permit application was submitted late last week to renovate 110,000 square feet of warehouse space at 4049 Willow Lake for HealthLink Europe & International. The cost is estimated at $930,000.

HealthLink handles orthopedic sets, ear-nose-throat devices, gastrointestinal and other surgical products from the time they leave the manufacturer.

In 2016, the company leased 32,000 square feet of warehouse space at 3655 Knight Road as it shifted its U.S. base from Raleigh, North Carolina. The FDA-certified space is temperature- and humidity-controlled and regulated to ensure the medical devices are packaged and processed safely.

At the time, the move from Raleigh was to create seven jobs in Memphis.

Now, HealthLink employs 22 people in Memphis. By year’s end, it expects to employ 30 to 35, and within two years about 60 people, Rick Hughes, company president and founding partner, said in a telephone interview.

“We’re on the growth curve,’’ Hughes said. “This year we’ll grow at 40 percent, which is amazing.’’

HealthLink started getting larger customers in Europe and a few in Memphis. “It really started to snowball,’’ Hughes said.

A big factor was simplicity. HealthLink uses the same information technology platform in Europe as it does in the U.S.

“We use the same quality-control system, same operating system. They can plug-and-play a bit in Memphis … We started to win some new business. Word of mouth has spread,’’ Hughes said.

HealthLink Europe & International is also increasing its warehouse capacity in Waalwijk in the Netherlands. Both expansions are to occur in the first quarter of next year.

Company officials noted in a release that the Willow Lake facility is less than seven miles from the FedEx hub at Memphis International Airport and also close to the city’s “emerging biosciences hub.’’

"Being so close to FedEx is huge for us," Hughes said. "We are able to reach both coastlines overnight for next-day deliveries with excellent freight rates."

The company signed an eight-year lease last week for the Willow Lake space.

HealthLink started looking for bigger space about five months ago, and considered a “very nice’’ facility in North Mississippi.

“We decided against it,’’ Hughes said. “We’ve got some great employees in the Memphis area. We want to keep those guys. Didn’t want to put pressure on them to have to move.’’

The building at Willow Lake is in two sections and HealthLink will occupy one of the sections. About 65 percent of its space is already air-conditioned, so HealthLink will install new air-conditioning units for the rest of the space.

The company keeps the temperature of its warehouses at 59 to 77 degrees.

Worldwide, HealthLink has 120 employees and works with more than 150 medical-device customers.

The company established its North American presence four years ago by opening a 2,400-square-foot warehouse in Raleigh.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 76 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 83 131 1,047
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 8 19 170
BUILDING PERMITS 190 277 3,028
BANKRUPTCIES 39 73 691
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 22 298
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0