Weekends Only Opens New 133,500-Square-Foot Warehouse
By Taylor Blake
2/15/2016 2:30:00 PM
Hazelwood, Mo. — Weekends Only opened its new 133,500-square-foot distribution center on Jan. 22, a $3 million project that will increase storage space, improve customer deliveries and pickups, and support future expansion of the Top 100 company.
“As we grow our retail and e-commerce business to become a top 50 furniture retailer in the country, we needed a distribution center that could support rapid growth,” Weekends Only COO Dionne Dumitru said.
Dumitru calls the distribution center the “heart of the business,” where product circulation begins and where it ends with delivery of in-store and e-commerce purchases. When the heart is strong, it strengthens the business as a whole, and when it struggles, the rest of the business struggles, too.
The new distribution center replaces a 75,000-square-foot facility the company has used since 2002. For several years, it struggled to hold product levels needed for peak times, especially after the company opened a new store in Castleton, Ind., in May 2015. During those times, the Castleton store and five St. Louis, Mo., stores took on the extra storage burden despite their own limited space. In addition, too few dock doors and an insufficient customer delivery area led to costly inefficiencies.
In 2014, Dumitru, along with Distribution Center Manager Kurt Eller and the company’s Executive Team, decided it was time to move to a new facility. In August, founder and CEO Tom Phillips started a search for a new property that would support the expanding business’s needs. Conveniently enough, the perfect spot was found just a 5-minute drive from the existing center, a location that would keep highways accessible without changing any the staff’s commute.
Construction began in Dec. 2014 with Kadean Construction Company. By the end of Oct. 2015, the building was ready to begin the 9-week process of receiving 12,000 cartons from the old distribution center on top of scheduled deliveries of new product.
In a move to save $400,000, the team decided to transfer existing racking instead of investing in new. This, however, added an unexpected challenge: they underestimated the area needed to disassemble and reassemble the equipment in two distribution centers still open for business. Dumitru and Eller acknowledged it made the process more “complex,” but with crews working around the clock, the changeover met its deadline.
The final setup of the new location featured racking 4 feet higher, which contributed to the 84% more storage capacity and doubled operation space. It also doubled the number of dock doors to 22 to speed up deliveries in and out of the building.
The new Weekends Only Distribution Center opened for customer furniture pickups on Jan. 22, with what Dumitru calls a “proper customer pickup environment.” Previously, customers picked up furniture at the dock doors designed for semi-trailer trucks. The new area sits at ground level in front of a convenient traffic lane just for customers. The improved flow will allow more customers to pick up furniture the same day they purchase.
Weekends Only also transferred its Repair Center to the facility and plans to move its Quality Care Center there in March after completing construction on adjoining offices. This will move both services out of the back of their store in Bridgeton, Mo.
“We expect a lot of efficiencies with all of our after-sale services being in one place,” Dumitru said. She is confident the investment into the heart of the business will strengthen and support the company. “The way we managed the transition was true to our mission and values: to save customers money using great teamwork and high performance. This was frankly much harder, but we embrace challenges, and I’m so proud of the team’s accomplishments. We are ready to grow.”
The new distribution center will be open to visitors for an open house on April 7.
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About Weekends Only Furniture and Mattress
Founded in 1997, Weekends Only Furniture and Mattress has become a leading furniture retailer in St. Louis. The company’s concept is unique—only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to save customers money while offering special buys and truckload purchases. Weekends Only has grown to include five locations in the St. Louis area, including West County, Bridgeton, Fairview Heights, Mid Rivers and South County, an e-commerce online store, and a new Indianapolis location that opened May 2015. More people shop Weekends Only than any other home furnishings store in St. Louis. The company’s corporate office is located in Webster Groves, MO. For more information about Weekends Only, please call 314-447-1500 or visit http://www.weekendsonly.com.