Hope Depot expansion makes Joliet its largest supply site
BY BOB OKON email@example.com September 26, 2013 9:58PM
Gov. Pat Quinn starts a board cutting, Home Depot's version of a ribbon cutting, Thursday at the grand opening of the Joliet Stocking Distribution Center. He is joined by (from left): Mark Holifield, senior vice president for supply chain; Gerri Commodore, general manager of the Joliet campus; Gordon Campbell, senior director for supply chain; and Travis Lawrence, senior director of human resources for supply chain. | Bob Okon~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 28, 2013 7:40AM
A Home Depot expansion in Joliet has created what the company says is its largest distribution operation in the United States.
Gov. Pat Quinn joined Home Depot executives and employees Thursday for the opening of the 1.6 million-square-foot Stocking Distribution Center. The facility is combined with the company’s 658,000-square-foot Rapid Deployment Center, which opened in January 2012.
The combined operation makes Joliet “the largest Home Depot supply chain site in the United States,” Gordon Campbell, the company’s supply chain director, told employees gathered for the grand opening. “You all should be proud of that.”
The Joliet operation employs 670 workers. Most of them have relocated to Joliet from Home Depot distribution facilities in Bolingbrook and Romeoville that have been closed as the new operation opened. But Home Depot also has added 120 employees since first opening in Joliet and expects to increase the work force there to 750.
Home Depot will move goods from Joliet to 345 stores in 13 states.
The governor took the opportunity to talk about the potential opportunities in Illinois, and especially Will County, for companies looking for places to locate distribution operations.
Pointing to Home Depot’s location in CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet, Quinn noted that CenterPoint has created “the largest inland port in the world,” repeating an often-used description of the massive rail-to-truck distribution operations that the developer has built in Joliet and Elwood.
“We know how to distribute goods that come on rail from all over the world,” Quinn said.
The CenterPoint developments place distribution centers close to two intermodal operations run by the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads to move goods between trains and trucks.
That proximity to the railroad was the major reason for building the massive Home Depot operation in Joliet, said Mark Holdifield, senior vice president of supply chain for the company.
“This is a great place to be,” Holdifield said. “With CenterPoint’s industrial park, we have access to rail. The largest inland port in the world gives us great capacity.”
The railroad runs right up to Home Depot’s operation, Holdifield said. And the Union Pacific intermodal operation is a “short drive” away for trucks that need to move goods from there to the Home Depot operation.
Home Depot has built 21 distribution buildings in the last five years.
But Campbell said the Joliet site is the first of the company’s campus-style developments, which combine stocking distribution and deployment centers at one location.
“You are serving the largest store base in the country here, and they depend on you so they can take care of the customers,” Campbell told employees. “This is our first Home Depot campus, and it’s a big deal.”
About a quarter of Home Depot customers will be served out of the Joliet base, company executives said. The territory runs as far west as North Dakota, east to Virginia and south to Tennessee.