NorthPoint’s cold storage startup is on fire, ready to go national

NorthPoint Development has made a name for itself by tackling big, often complex development opportunities across the country since its founding in 2012.
 
Now, the Riverside-based firm also is becoming known for turning business opportunities into highly successful enterprises.
 
Case in point: ColdPoint Logistics, an innovative cold-storage distribution facility at Logistics Park Kansas City in Edgerton.
 
“It is pretty incredible the business that has been built in short order,” said NorthPoint CEO Nathaniel Hagedorn, whose firm also has launched freight-forwarding, self-storage, architecture and senior living units over the past four years.
 
Located at 31301 W. 181st St., ColdPoint Logistics is the first tenant in North Park at LPKC, which includes 300 ares of rail-served sites within the Logistics Park Kansas City.
 
NorthPoint is the master developer of the 1,700-acre intermodal logistics park, which opened in late 2013 along a stretch of BNSF Railway’s transcontinental line through Edgerton.
 
Since LPKC opened five years ago, a total of more than 7 million square feet have been leased in the park, which has capacity for 17 million square feet of structures. North Park at LPKC includes shovel-ready sites with the capacity for 3.4 million square feet of rail-served space.
 
Thom Smith, CEO of ColdPoint Logistics, said it opened last July in first-phase space covering about 150,000 square feet. The plan was to expand to 600,000 square feet over five years, he said. But instead, ColdPoint will reach capacity within two years, having opened its second, 150,000-square-foot phase earlier this month with plans to complete a third phase in September and begin building the final phase in early 2019.
 
Dane Bear, ColdPoint’s vice president of operations, said the expansion of the facility also has driven rapid employment growth, from 40 workers in July to the 125 administrative, maintenance and warehouse employees who now work for the new business.
 
Now, Smith said, ColdPoint Logistics is looking to expand nationally with additional locations on both coasts and, perhaps, a broader presence in the Midwest.
 
To get to that point, the new business had to build credibility by deploying its vision for revolutionizing the cold-storage distribution industry to the benefit some huge, well-established agricultural clients.
 
By locating at LPKC, which is in the heart of America’s agricultural corridor, ColdPoint Logistics has been able to reload containers used to import products to Kansas City with fresh and frozen food products, ship them via BNSF’s rail network to the West Coast and load them directly onto ocean carriers.
 
“Our approach will change the traditional logistics model,” Bear said upon the opening of ColdPoint’s initial phase last year. “This efficient, central source solution offers tremendous cost savings for ColdPoint customers. It is simple and sustainable, since we are nearly eliminating truck traffic and bypassing port congestion. We believe our LPKC location and innovative business model can replace the need for cold storage facilities at West Coast ports.”
 
ColdPoint, which provides a 50-50 mix of international and domestic distribution for its clients, extends those services for a “who’s who in the food business,” Bear said.
 
ColdPoint customers thus far include Seaboard Foods, a Merriam-based pork producer; JBS S.A., the nation’s largest producer of beef, pork and poultry; Unilever, which is using ColdPoint for domestic distribution of the margarine and other spreads it manufactures at New Century AirCenter; Tyson Foods, which is using the firm to resupply its Olathe distribution center; Wichita-based Cargill Meat Solutions; and CSM Bakeries, which is based in Bonner Springs.
 
According to Smith, ColdPoint has been able to attract that all-star lineup by driving operation excellence through adherence to NorthPoint’s core values and 22 measurables designed to keep ColdPoint’s costs low and quality of service high.
 
In keeping with the values it shares with NorthPoint, Smith added, ColdPoint strives to put people first, take ownership of every situation and do the right thing every time. Thirty percent of the firm is owned by its employees, he said.
 
That has allowed ColdPoint to benefit from a talented, knowledgeable team, which includes Aaron Burks, the engineer and project manager in charge of designing and building out the Edgerton facility.
 
“One thing I love about this business,” Burks said, “is that we are right here in the breadbasket of the U.S., taking our agricultural products and shipping the to other countries, including China. It grows our domestic product.”
 
According to Burks, who is currently working on the design for ColdPoint Logistics’ fourth phase in Edgerton, the facility includes convertible zones, where temperatures can range from -10 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit; blast freezing; and a -10 degree freezer for slow freezing.
 
The facility also is equipped with a robust warehouse management system, which coordinates complex inventory and distribution processes efficiently and cost effectively.

 
– Rob Roberts
 
Kansas City Business Journal
 
Date: March 19, 2018
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