Insights > A behind the scenes look at landing Tractor Supply distribution center
A behind the scenes look at landing Tractor Supply distribution center
Tractor Supply Company (TSC) announced in January it will soon locate a $100 million distribution center for home goods and equipment for farms and families in Maumelle where four-wheelers once rolled through a rugged wooded parcel north of the city’s industrial park.
TSC is the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States with more than 2,000 stores in 49 states and nine existing distribution centers. The company also owns Petsense, a small-box pet specialty supply retailer.
The company’s 10th distribution center will be constructed on Champs Boulevard in Maumelle and is expected to be completed in first quarter of 2023, creating 450 full-time jobs.
Landing the deal was the result of planning, hard work and perfect timing.
The Entergy Arkansas Business and Economic Development team worked with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), the City of Maumelle, and the landowners for more than three years to make the location a certified Select Site and legitimately ready for a future employer and customer.
The property was full of opportunities – and challenges – to meet the expectations of a prospective company. It had been listed and shown for several years before Entergy Arkansas became actively involved and worked through the necessary criteria to certify the site.
“The certification work for this site set the bar for eliminating surprises, but the vetting process eventually led to the perfect developer and investor in TSC,” said Tandee White, community development manager for Entergy Arkansas.
“It was mostly timber used for hunting back in the day and four-wheeler riding, with some lowlands and a few other surprises,” she said. “It required more work and due diligence than most sites, but the commitment to the process is going to pay off in jobs and investment.”
To become an Entergy Arkansas Select Site, a site must pass a rigorous set of requirements and reviews pertaining to environmental, historical, cultural and geotechnical interests. Land surveys, court document research, site control (ownership or options), and more are required to complete the process. However, completing the audit ensures the site has appropriate access to utilities and right of ways, and is ready for prospective buyers.
Some improvements to the site began in November 2017 with the cooperation of the property owners, City of Maumelle and former economic development director Judy Keller. Shortly thereafter, the Entergy Arkansas team fully engaged the landowners and Maumelle on the certification process, and by November 2019 it was designated as one of the highly regarded Entergy Arkansas Select Site properties.
“We regularly encourage our communities to complete the work necessary for certification to win a project if they are serious about listing a site and attracting an employer to locate there. The question is, ‘Do you want to do it beforehand and improve your odds of achieving your goal or leave question marks and risks that could turn away a prospective company?’” said Chris Murphy, senior project manager for Entergy Arkansas.
Murphy added, “The site had challenges that were uncommon, but removing all those roadblocks showed the dedication and determination that Maumelle’s leadership and Entergy Arkansas had in making this site ready for when an opportunity came along.”
TSC’s site location consultants, JLL, contacted AEDC in Fall 2019 looking for a suitable site to locate a 900,000 square foot distribution center to serve 250 TSC retails stores in the region.
The Maumelle site fit the bill for TSC – ample land, properly zoned, near a good transportation network, and vetted for construction.
After several months of working closely with JLL and TSC – which included meetings, walkthroughs and even a helicopter flyover – a letter of intent was signed in August 2021, and the site location decision announcement was made in late January 2022.
Included in the company’s press release was a quote from TSC’s CEO Hal Lawton:
“From the beginning of the site search, Tractor Supply and JLL, a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management, worked closely on the project with the State of Arkansas, Maumelle City officials, and Chris Murphy, senior project manager with Entergy Arkansas. In 2019, Murphy and Tandee White, also with Entergy Arkansas, partnered with the city to certify the tract as a ‘Select Site’ resulting in a more efficient due diligence process for Tractor Supply.”
Danny Games, director of business and economic development for Entergy Arkansas, said, “The role we play in any given project will vary, but in this particular case, Chris was on point the whole time and really helped to facilitate TSC’s decision in selecting Maumelle. The city’s economic development director retired last September, so between Chris’ work on the project, his rapport with the consultants, and his and Tandee’s prior work on the site, Entergy Arkansas really delivered.”
Temporary power will be provided to the site in March to begin construction, which will require an extension and upgrades to the distribution lines.
Entergy Arkansas continuously works with communities to implement an assessment tool that allows communities to certify their sites and communicate the prepared status to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, site location consultants and company decision makers. Other Select Site properties are in Jefferson County, Little Rock (sale pending), Magnolia, Newport, Osceola, Russellville and West Memphis. Learn more by visiting the Entergy Arkansas Site Selection Center.
Pictured are from left Chris Murphy; Will Sparks, TSC Logistics Field Support director; Clay Jackson, TSC Supply Chain Planning vice president; and Matthew R. Powers, JLL Consulting managing director.