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Boise Cascade Opens 30th Distribution Center

By Bridget McCrea

Boise Cascade opened this new distribution center in Milton, Fla. recently, which brings the total number of its Building Materials Distribution Centers to 30 nationwide.
Milton, Fla.—Ready to serve new customers, Boise Cascade opened a new distribution center (DC) here recently, bringing the Boise-based forest products distributor and manufacturer’s total number of Building Materials Distribution Centers to 30 nationwide.

The CSX-rail served, 80,000-square-foot warehouse facility, with 10,000 square feet of office space, is situated on 27 acres of land, and is located near major truck transportation corridors, including Interstate 10. With its eye on serving customers along the Gulf Coast–from Tallahassee to New Orleans–the company is well positioned to work with an active regional construction market that’s still working overtime to clean up the paths of Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Katrina (2005).

Heading up the new facility is Ken Ponsell, branch manager, who was formerly the assistant manager for Boise Cascade in Orlando. Ponsell has deep knowledge of the Florida market and has 24 years of industry experience. The distribution center, which took six months to build, fills a “significant gap in the company’s national distribution network,” according to Ponsell, who said that previously the Panhandle was served by branches in Houston, Memphis, Atlanta and Orlando.
This rooftop angle highlight’s Boise’s engineered wood racks.
“This region was on the outer limits of four other Boise facilities,” said Ponsell. “So it made sense to set up shop in this area of the Gulf Coast.” The new facility carries a full line of building materials, and serves a customer base of new, independent dealers along with established, national accounts. “We have everything they need to frame a home,” he added, “with the exception of the electrical, plumbing, doors and windows.”

Boise Building Materials Distribution (BBMD) is a leading national inventory-carrying wholesale distributor of building materials with distribution branches strategically located across the United States. BBMD offers a broad range of products including engineered wood products, oriented strand board, plywood, lumber, siding, and general items such as framing accessories, composite decking, roofing and insulation.

Boise is the second largest engineered wood products manufacturer, and produces plywood sheathing, particleboard and lumber. The company also manufactures a wide range of specialty and premium paper products, including imaging papers
A truck is unloaded at Boise’s new facility, which is located near major truck transportation corridors, including Interstate 10.
for the office and home and papers for pressure-sensitive applications, as well as printing and converting papers, containerboard and corrugated boxes, newsprint and market pulp.  
With a staff of 18 employees, Boise’s newest branch is in the process of getting both “staffed up” and “stocked up,” according to Ponsell, who said getting 400 truckloads of materials offloaded and ready for purchase has been their first priority. “We’ve transferred in a few people from the Boise system–myself included–and hired others from the local market that bring a great deal of customer and market knowledge,” said Ponsell, who is responsible for all aspects of the Milton facility.
“This is a brand new facility, in a brand new location, serving a brand new market,” he said. “It’s a strong market, considering all of the rebuilding needed after Hurricane Katrina, and all of the development being done in the Florida Panhandle. This is a unique opportunity for Boise and I’m excited about providing the highest level of service to our customers and our suppliers.”

When asked how things are going so far, Ponsell said, “So far, so good. Our national suppliers have been very supportive, we’ve shipped a lot of product, and we also have a lot of growing to do. We’re doing be
Variety of plywoods stored in the warehouse, from Southern White
Pine to Imported Birch. The Warehouse has four roll-up dock doors and two for
unloading vans.
tter than we were a month ago, and a month from now we’ll be even better yet. Customers are very receptive to our service offerings!”

Ponsell said the new DC was built for the long term. “We have a lot of capacity, so as our customers grow, we can grow with them.”

The large, efficient facility also features a backup generator that will allow the company to operate during a power outage, such as one caused by a hurricane. With that season already in full swing, knowing that the facility can function despite such adversity eases Ponsell’s mind.

“We’ll have lights, and our generator will come on if we were to lose power,” he said. “There’s enough power to handle the whole office, half of the warehouse lighting and all the perimeter lighting, so we’d still be able to function.”

Looking ahead, Ponsell said he plans to do more than just “function” in his new position as head of Boise’s newest facility.
Variety of plywoods stored in the warehouse, from Southern White
Pine to Imported Birch. The Warehouse has four roll-up dock doors and two for
unloading vans.
In fact, he predicts significant growth ahead, both in terms of sales and employee numbers. “I see us increasing our product selection,” noting that Boise’s decentralized operating strategy means that the new location will carry products that fit the market, not what sells in other regions of the country.

“As our business grows, we’ll add employees so our service levels will be great,” Ponsell added. “Our division strategy is to grow. We have room, we have support from suppliers and customers, so that’s what we’ll do.”


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