Bleckmann, a Dutch-Belgo company dedicated to third-party logistics in the fashion and lifestyle sector, announced it is entering the U.S. market with a $3.5 million investment in a 175,000 square foot distribution center in the Columbus Region. The facility, located at 188 Commerce Boulevard in Johnstown, will employ 200 people in warehouse operations, production, supervisory roles and operations management, with about a fifth of the positions in management and administration. Hiring and operations 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.”
With greater access to the U.S. market within a 10-hour drive than any other major metro, the Columbus Region is a strategic location for the movement of goods. More than 4,000 logistics establishments employ over 76,000 people in the Columbus Region. L Brands, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, DSW and other major retail brands headquartered in the Region operate significant fulfillment operations in the area, and Bleckmann joins dozens of companies that have selected the Columbus Region to expand their retail and e-commerce operations in the past five years.
Bleckmann is a company dedicated to the fashion and lifestyle sector, operating extensive logistics and distribution services to the retail industry throughout Europe, with world-wide forwarding capabilities. This sector specialization represents a strategic aim within Bleckmann to cater specifically for the retail industry, and is reflected in an established network infrastructure that is wholly separate from the rest of the Bleckmann organization. Bleckmann’s network infrastructure is the most complete and extensive of its kind in Western Europe operating on a hub & spoke distribution network within countries, handling both hanging and boxed merchandise and is tuned to the specific nature and requirements of our customers including the capacity and gearing to accommodate sharp seasonal fluctuations. The network is centrally managed giving a strong continuity of service across territories in addition to providing a single customer interface for Europe. Learn more at www.Bleckmann.com.
About Columbus 2020
In 2010, hundreds of community and business leaders from across Central Ohio came together in an unprecedented way to develop the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, an aggressive, decade-long plan to ensure economic vitality in the Columbus Region. Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across the 11-county Columbus Region. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at ColumbusRegion.com.