“We’re a family owned and operated company. My father, David Collar, is the owner of Winco Fireworks. He started the business when he was 16 and my siblings and I have grown up working in the company,” said Winco Regional Manager Lauren Collar. “We have definitely received a business degree by experience throughout the course of my life.”
If you like fireworks then this story will certainly brighten your day. Jorgenson Material Handling recently worked with Winco Fireworks helping provide solutions to a large job. Just who is Winco? Well for one thing they are the exclusive dealer in Black Cat Fireworks in all of North America—that is how large Winco is as a company.
The Winco Fireworks Warehouse recently decided to pull up stakes and leave Evanston, Wyoming. Choosing Ogden, Utah may not seem like such a big deal, however when you consider they also brought with them an impressive amount of fireworks and other things boys old and young enjoy setting off, well, you kind of get the idea that this is a big deal.
“It took us about two weeks to move everything from our existing warehouse in Evanston to Ogden and we did anywhere from three to five truckloads a day,” said Collar who oversees Winco’s operations in Utah and Colorado.
The reason for the move is Winco was seeking a closer location to its wholesalers in Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, and that location just happened to be right here in Utah.
“The fireworks industry is a very time crunch industry where we make all of our money and most of our sales in about a week’s time. So by being closer to our customers, we are able to service them more last minute,” Collar explains. “And we weren’t capable of doing that when we were in Evanston. With the transportation time and the time they needed the product to be at their stand in order to make their sales, they didn’t have time to take a half day to a full day to drive to Evanston to pick up additional product that they needed.”
So Winco chose a 34,000 square foot facility in the Ogden Business Depot. Having converted part of it to offices and two large separated bays, they now needed a place to store their massive stockpile of fireworks. That is when they came to Jorgenson Material Handling for solutions, and where they also found a new friend in Utah.
“Really just all around awesome and great service,” said Collar when asked about the folks at Jorgenson. One of the most important aspects was both companies worked together with local fire officials to ensure everything was installed in compliance with local and state laws.
“Because of Utah’s unique geology, for this project we used the seismic racking design rated for Zone 3, which has larger foot plates and is essentially ‘beefier’ than normal teardrop pallet racking to ensure we met codes,” said Project Manager Lance Jorgenson.
Jorgenson Material Handling helped us set up pallet racking in our warehouse space,” said Collar. “They helped us in this whole process from bidding the job, to working with the fire marshal, to getting everything approved, to setting it up. Jorgenson also offered a lot of other assistance to us with other needs. It was a really good welcome to the state to have great customer service and everything be taken care of timely. We knew the steps as we were going along and we were never in the dark as to where we were in the process.”
By installing these 150 sections of industrial pallet racking, and personally working with the fire marshal to ensure those massive amounts of fireworks would be stored in a place that met code and be safe and secure, Jorgenson crews helped Winco truly optimize the floor space they had–all of which made a noticeable difference.
“It is very important. It is the difference between having the racks or not. So if we weren’t able to meet the fire marshal’s codes, he wouldn’t have approved us for the racking. Then we would have to commit to more square footage for the warehouse so that everything would have been to code,” said Collar. “It would have been floor stacks and end up costing us more to house it in a larger warehouse.”
It took just three days to install the warehouse shelving which holds 5,000 pounds per level or 1,500 pounds per section! That holds a tremendous amount of Winco’s best-selling firework; named “Gorgeous.”
Besides supplying just the pallet racking, Jorgenson experts pulled the racking permits from Ogden City, did the entire racking layout and design which met Winco’s unique needs and even got the seismic drawings for them so they wouldn’t have to worry about any of it. Finally Jorgenson Material Handling also provided Winco with several pallet jacks, a rolling ladder for the new warehouse.
So just what does the new warehouse pallet racking Jorgenson did look like, and how many fireworks can be stuffed in there? We will just say it’s A LOT of fireworks…
“Put it this way, when some of my customers and other people within the company come and see the facility, their eyes are wide and their jaw drops in just amazement as to how organized it is and how much stuff is in there,” said Collar.
In just over a month, we shall see how this big move works out for Winco Fireworks as Independence Day draws closer.
“I think we can expect some expansion now that we are closer to our customer base and we’re in a better, more developed area. We expect to see some growth—as for exact percentage we don’t have anything set in mind but we know that by being where we are, we should be saving costs that we had in Evanston as well as getting more sales,” said Collar.
From all of us here at Jorgenson Material Handling we would like to welcome Winco Fireworks to Utah, and we certainly wish them the continued success this successful family business deserves. We also look forward to offering them more solutions as they grow and expand in the region.