Article by Jana Adkins (May 13, 2015)
It’s not quite as dramatic as the phoenix rising from the ashes, but each time AMS Fulfillment is met with a business challenge, the Valencia firm confronts and overcomes it quicker than most companies can plan a strategy for their next move. And that phoenix just acquired another building on Witherspoon Parkway.
The full-service order fulfillment company experienced a meteoric growth in business in the past decade – at one point it occupied 13 warehouse buildings in the Santa Clarita Valley. As the Great Recession darkened, the company continued to grow and add employees.
Last year AMS said farewell to its largest client, Toms shoes, when it couldn’t find an existing building large enough to accommodate a new automation system and process for the retailer. Graciously, AMS ensured Toms was able to make a successful move over to one of their competitors.
AMS downsized staff and planned to terminate leases on several of its warehouses when the team found it had generated more new business – in part due to the good relationship they maintained with Toms. That new business led to some rehires and of some of the buildings they were about to let go of, they kept.
Fast forward to later in 2014 and AMS had been re-growing so quickly it needed a larger building to accommodate its new growth. Management had been in preliminary negotiations with a developer to build a larger warehouse for them, when an existing one suddenly became available.
“Our immediate need for a new facility made the availability of the existing building a better option rather than building from scratch and waiting until December 2015 for it to be ready,” said Ken Wiseman, AMS CEO and managing partner along with President, Jay Catlin.
The building that previously housed Hitachi Power Tools on Witherspoon Parkway became available when that company moved to new space, and a chance encounter at the groundbreaking for the new IAC Commerce Center last November led to an important introduction, Wiseman said.
“We hit it off at the event to introduce the commerce center we’re developing,” said Michael Daniels, managing director for IAC. “We realized what they needed for space and knew that we had the Hitachi space coming up so we negotiated a mutually beneficial deal.”
The deal officially closed April 3, but AMS had been allowed inside earlier to start setting up racks to receive inventory. It’s a 7-year lease on 210,000 square feet of space, Wiseman said. And a much better deal than the one the company had been looking into because for one, AMS could move in quickly. Doug Sonderegger with CBRE handled the transaction.
“Our growth was just outpacing our ability to get into a building fast enough,” Wiseman said. “The new building will be almost exclusively for client growth. We only let one smaller lease go – 40,000 square feet on Franklin.”
Indeed, within a month of first moving racks into the Witherspoon building, AMS has filled nearly the equivalent of five football fields full with merchandise. And most of that inventory is from just four clients who are rapidly growing, he said.
As for future growth needs, Daniels from IAC said the two continue to have dialogue and as the needs of AMS increase IAC will be there to accommodate them.
“We’re very excited about the new relationship with IAC,” Wiseman said. “We can foresee that their strategy of putting up new buildings could align well with our growth.”
This story published in the May 2015 edition of the SCV Business Journal. Photo’s by Dan Watson.
The article may be found on The Signal website as follows: http://www.signalscv.com/section/24/article/136603/