logo

Steinwall buys building for JIT distribution unit

By: Roger Renstrom

January 14, 2013

Steinwall Inc. acquired a 65,500-square-foot building in Brooklyn Park, Minn., for its just-in-time distribution department.

Maureen Steinwall, owner and president of the business, said the building is appraised now at $3.2 million for tax purposes. She said a Steinwall entity paid $2.3 million to acquire the Class C industrial structure Dec. 13 from a U.S. operation of Maax Bath Inc. of Lachine, Quebec.

Steinwall expects to finish infrastructure improvements and have the distribution facility operational by March 1.

The Brooklyn Park site is about 15 miles from Steinwall’s 100,000-square-foot engineering and manufacturing operation, which includes custom injection molding, in Coon Rapids, Minn.

“I made the decision to split the business last year, but the building we were trying to purchase fell through so we quickly leased space in Elk River,” Minn., Steinwall said. “I then found the [Brooklyn Park] building in September 2012.”

Going forward, the business departments will be Steinwall Distribution in Brooklyn Park and Steinwall Scientific in Coon Rapids.

“Elk River is only 40,000 square feet, and Brooklyn Park is 65,500 so we will have room to grow,” she said. “We have [leased] Elk River through 2013, so we will have time to remodel and move slowly so that we don’t upset operations too much.”

Currently, Elk River warehouses raw inventory; Brooklyn Park will have finished inventory.

Then Coon Rapids “will have room to take on more injection molding presses and perhaps prototyping, clean room, testing laboratory or more secondary decorating,” she said. “We’ll see where our customers take us.”

Steinwall split the business in part to accommodate customers that continue to require inventory management, she said.

“Manufacturing is a very different business model — processes, procedures, etc. — from that of distribution, so we shifted everything accordingly.”

Steinwall said she eventually plans to split the management responsibilities of the two businesses. “I think Steinwall Distribution, when we get really good at it, could be a separate business,” Steinwall said.

“My new neighbor was already talking to me about doing their distribution — they would just drive across the parking lot with their paper products and we would ship to their customers when needed — but I told them to hold off until we settle down.”

Currently, Don Blue, vice president of Steinwall Inc. operations, oversees both manufacturing and distribution.

“So the two of us are managing both sides of the business, but ask me in one year,” she said with a smile in anticipation of a retirement date possibly “knocking on my door soon.”

Steinwall Inc. employs 150. It has an injection molding press count of 50, including an all-electric Toshiba 85 that became operational in November. During 2012, the company acquired eight Yushin robots.

Steinwall purchased the plastics processing company in 1987 from her father, Carl, who initially established a mold-making business in 1965.