December 20, 2022

Uline to Hire for Massive Naples Warehouse Opening in Early 2023

Aerial of three men working in a warehouse.

Expected to complete construction next month of a massive distribution center in Collier County, Uline Inc. plans to hire about 150 people to staff it.

The Wisconsin-based distributor of shipping, packaging and industrial materials plans to complete construction in mid-January of its 915,750-square-foot warehouse being built at 3830 Uline Drive, off City Gate Boulevard east of Collier Boulevard near the 100-acre Paradise Coast Sports Complex and the future Great Wolf Lodge Resort also under construction.

“This size building is on par with other buildings that you’d see throughout the Uline network,” said Naples Branch Manager Brad Heisner. “It has quite a bit of space in it, which is part of the Uline value proposition. We like to always have stock for our customers.”

DeAngelis Diamond of Naples teamed up with Minneapolis-based Mortenson to build the $96 million distribution center for Uline, which began construction in July 2021. Uline plans to begin receiving product and stocking the warehouse in late January, host major on-site hiring events tentatively scheduled for Feb. 11 and March 11, and begin serving Florida customers in April.

To staff the local air-conditioned warehouse and offices, the distribution company will recruit about 130 warehouse associates, six warehouse managers, two mechanics and additional support staff such as custodians, logistics analysts and human resources professionals. The non-managerial roles range in pay from $19 to $35 per hour, according to information on Uline’s website, where available positions and job requirement information is available.

“I think Naples is craving an employer like us in the area,” Heisner said. “Our business brings steady, year-round job employment to a market heavily dominated by the seasonal service and tourist industries. We offer above-market wages and it’s a place where you can grow. There are not many better employers out there than Uline, if any.”

Heisner, who has worked for Uline for nearly a decade, relocated to the Naples area during Memorial Day weekend. “I was employee No. 1 and the team is rapidly growing. We’re up to 13 employees right now. We have another eight that are starting right after the new year and the team’s just going to rapidly expand after that.”

Modern equipment allows the large distribution center to operate efficiently with about 200 employees, Heisner said. “I have 170 or so in the warehouse and 30 office support roles. That will be split among two shifts,” he said, “The first shift starts around 10 a.m. and goes through early evening. Then we have a night shift that starts around 8 or 9 o’clock and runs overnight until 5 or 6 in the morning. The night shift primarily receives product and puts it away. The first shift is our outbound, order processing and shipping. Two-thirds of our folks will be working the first shift and the remaining third will be on the night shift.”

The Naples center will distribute products to most of Florida. “It will serve the major metro markets of Orlando, Tampa, Miami and all the rural areas in between,” Heisner said. “We’re going to draw the line between Orlando and Jacksonville, just north of Ocala and south of Gainesville. That will be our boundary for the branch to start. Northern Florida will still be shipped same-day from our Georgia branch.”

“This branch is being built for two reasons. One, to better serve our customers. Parts of Florida right now are two-day service and this branch will bring one-day service to the entire state of Florida,” Heisner said. “Also, it’s going to bring better shipping rates to our customers in Florida. We’re looking at about 30 to 40% reduction in freight rates for our customers in addition to those reduced lead times, so that’s a huge win for our customers. The second reason is our Georgia branch is busting at the seams right now. We run a high-growth company and the Georgia branch is quite busy at the moment and it could use some relief. So, this Florida branch hopefully will peel away some volume off the Georgia branch and give them a little bit of breathing room.”

The advantage of locating a center in Naples allows Uline to easily serve Miami via Interstate 75’s Alligator Alley without being in the middle of Miami’s congestion, Heisner said. “In Naples, it’s a direct, uninterrupted route to Miami. And then Tampa and Orlando are easily served through I-75 as well,” he said. “Collier County is a conducive environment for businesses and it aligns with how Uline likes to operate. It was pretty much an easy choice for us to decide to build here.”

Two years ago, Uline purchased 102.68 acres for $45,369,511 in the City Gate commerce center. Seeking to diversify the county’s tourism-based economy, Collier officials sweetened the Uline deal in 2020 with $2.2 million in tax incentives and more favorable impact fees. “This monumental transaction has been several years in the making and a big win for Collier County and Southwest Florida as a whole,” said William Rollins, senior broker of LSI Companies, which brokered the deal.

The Collier location is the first distribution center in Florida for Uline, which has distribution centers in California, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as in Canada and Mexico. This expansion to the Napes area is part of Uline’s steady growth during the last decade. The company has experienced double-digit growth consecutively for the past five years and employs more than 9,000 people.

The company offers same-day shipping on more than 40,000 products from its 840-plus-page catalog and website. “Boxes are our bread and butter,” Heisner said. “But any warehouse supplies or shipping related are also in our wheelhouse.”

A family-operated business since 1980, Uline is owned by the Uihlein family, which has a rich legacy in Naples. Uline, of course, is a shortened version of Uihlein to better enable pronunciation of the name.

Richard “Dick” and Elizabeth “Liz” Uihlein, who own a condo in Naples, are the company’s CEO and president, respectively, and their children are executives for the company. Extensions of the family, which have historic roots in the Schlitz Brewing Co., have owned property in Naples since the 1930s. In fact, late Naples resident William Uihlein, Uline CEO’s great-uncle, was named honorary mayor for life in 1946 by the Naples town council for giving his time, talent and treasure to the new town.