IKEA manufacturing center set to open
IKEA will open a new manufacturing facility in Danville, Va., on May 21. The manufacturing facility, at 930,000 square feet, is a slightly larger size than originally planned.
“We made excellent progress on construction last year, and our installation of equipment and machinery has gone very smoothly,” said Bengt Danielsson, North American president of IKEA subsidiary Swedwood. “Now our primary objective is to complete appropriate operational training for 175 coworkers as well as to ensure a seamless production and packaging process.”
Swedwood makes private label products for IKEA, including Expedit bookshelves, Lack coffee and side tables, Magiker modular entertainment systems and PAX wardrobe frames.
There currently are 34 IKEA stores in the United States and 11 in Canada. Other new stores in North America will open in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Somerville, Mass.; and Tampa, Fla. IKEA also has seven distribution centers in North America, with facilities in Bristol, Pa; Brossard, Quebec; Perryville, Md.; Savannah, Ga; Tejon, Calif.; and Westampton, N.J. A northwestern distribution center will open later this year in Tacoma, Wash.
Ace receives $10,000 for eco initiatives
Ace Hardware will receive a $10,000 grant from the Sacremento, Calif.-area Placer County Air Pollution District to help fund continued testing of pallet trucks powered by zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells.
The trucks are based out of Ace’s Retail Support Center in Sacremento. The 1,028,000-square-foot facility represents the co-op’s second largest distribution center in size and volume. Testing for the initiative began in February, according to a press release issued by Placer County. Initial testing consisted of replacing lead-acid batteries with hydrogen fuel cells.
“We’re encouraged by the initial findings and anxious to see the complete test results to determine the viability of expanding the use of this hydrogen fuel cell technology in this and other facilities,” said Bill Bauman, vp-retail support for Ace Hardware.
In 2005, Ace began testing biodiesel fuel — an 80/20 mix of vegetable oil and diesel fuel — in several tractors in its Midwestern fleet. Today, Ace uses biodiesel in the entire fleet for its Retail Support Center located in Princeton, Ill., and has plans to roll it out to several other distribution centers across the country.
Other environmental initiatives by Ace have included installing energy-efficient T5 lighting in the majority of its distribution centers and reducing volatile organic compounds in private-label paint products sold at retail.
Also on the consumer side, Ace developed “Helpful Earth Choices,” a labeling program meant to help customers identify environmentally friendly products and sustainable items.
Sales up 25 percent at Lumber Liquidators
Lumber Liquidators, the specialty retailer of hardwood flooring, saw net income nearly double to $4.3 million from $2.23 million in the first quarter. Sales rose 25 percent to $114.55 million from $92 million in the same period last year.
“We are very pleased with our strong results in the first quarter and our ability to maintain the positive momentum we experienced in the second half of last year,” said Jeffrey Griffiths, president and CEO. “We are pleased with the strong contributions of new stores that we have opened in the last year as their results are exceeding our expectations.”
So far this year, Lumber Liquidators has opened 15 new stores — one each in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas; and two each in Illinois and Pennsylvania. The Toano, Va.-based company said it maintains plans to open 30 to 40 new stores in 2008.
The company currently operates more than 130 stores in the United States.