Bleckmann, a Dutch-Belgo company dedicated to third-party logistics in the fashion and lifestyle sector, is entering the U.S. market with a $3.5 million investment in a 175,000 square foot distribution center in Johnstown Business Park at 188 Commerce Boulevard in Johnstown, Ohio.
The company will employ 200 associates in warehouse operations, production, supervisory roles and operations management, with about a fifth of the positions in management and administration. Hiring and operations in the Columbus region will begin during the summer of 2016.
Founded in 1862 and headquartered in Oldenzaal, the Netherlands, and Kruishouten, Belgium, Bleckmann is a market leader in providing specialty supply chain services and operates extensive logistics and distribution services to the retail and e-commerce industries throughout Europe. The company, which employs more than 1,500 workers worldwide and distributes more than 300 million apparel units per year, will invest in mezzanine, racking, automation and warehouse management system software.
Because of increased demand from customers, Bleckmann sought to open its first U.S. location and selected the Columbus Region for its strong logistics and retail sectors, talent pool and central location. According to Johan Milliau, CEO and Co-owner, and Steven Rymenans, Group Strategy Director and Co-owner, Columbus was selected because it provided the right mix of strong infrastructure, workforce and location.
“As a third party logistics company focused on fashion and e-commerce, it is key for us to be in a location that has good infrastructure, a good labor base and a central location so that a large part of the market can be reached quickly and cost-efficiently,” said Milliau.
“After a detailed analysis, we concluded that Columbus was the ideal location to serve the United States from the east to west coast, said Rymenans.
Bleckmann’s collaboration with economic development organization Columbus 2020 also influenced the company’s location decision, said Marc Keymeulen, Director of International Development at Bleckmann.
“When looking into different markets for our first U.S. location, Bleckmann connected with Columbus 2020 and quickly recognized the strong relationship the organization has with the private sector. The Columbus 2020 team introduced Bleckmann to many companies in the area that helped influence our decision,” said Keymeulen. “And Columbus 2020, GROW Licking County and Johnstown exposed our company to a variety of resources that made it easy to see how Bleckmann could succeed within the community.”
“GROW Licking County is thrilled to have Bleckmann join the Licking County business community,” said Nathan Strum, Executive Director of GROW Licking County. “As Central Ohio continues to grow in various industry sectors, it is critical to ensure that a balance is struck between existing domestic and expanding international companies. Bleckmann’s entrance into the U.S. market at the Johnstown Business Park demonstrates the ongoing growth of Central Ohio and the appeal of Licking County.”
“Johnstown is excited to be chosen as Bleckmann’s location to enter the U.S. market,” said Jim Lenner, Village Manager of the Village of Johnstown. “We look forward to a long relationship that provides the needed resources to Bleckmann for anticipated growth. The number of jobs being created will help those in and around Johnstown find sustainable employment.”