Despite the tepid economy, Access America Transport chief Ted Alling said the growing third-party logistics company headquartered in Chattanooga needed more space earlier this year.
"We were bursting at the seams," Mr. Alling said about his company's home office located off Rossville Boulevard.
To make room, the business opened a second Chattanooga location and leased 3,500 square feet of office space at Eastgate Town Center off Brainerd Road.
The shift benefits the company, which is up to 85 employees, and it helps fill some of the vacant space in the former mall that has gained new life holding mostly offices, education classrooms and government services.
Eastgate, which was Chattanooga's first mall when it opened in 1962, lost BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee earlier this year when the insurer consolidated offices to its new downtown campus. BlueCross had been leasing about a quarter of the 800,000-square-foot space in the revamped Eastgate.
Paul Mallchok, Eastgate's general manager, said Access America is the center's second logistics company. Reich Logistics is in its second year, he said.
"Our central location at I-24 and I-75 makes Eastgate uniquely suited for this type of business," Mr. Mallchok said.
He said Eastgate is about 70 percent leased up. Major office tenants include Convergys' call center, Merastar Insurance and Galen Medical Services.
The state of Tennessee also has several offices in the center, including the Southeast Tennessee Career Center.
Educational tenants include Chattanooga State Technical Community College, ITT Technical Institute, and Tennessee Community Counseling Services.
In addition, Mr. Mallchok said there is still retail in the center including Office Depot, Tuesday Morning, China Moon Restaurant, GNC, and others.
Mr. Alling said the company shifted its sales and operations work force to the Eastgate space that formerly held some of BlueCross' operations.
"We support the other six offices around the country," he said, which include Knoxville and Birmingham.
Access America, which specializes in truckload, less-than-truckload and supply chain management services, was recently named one of BusinessTN's top 100 hottest companies.
Mr. Alling said Access America will likely hit $55 million in sales this year and is looking for 20 percent growth in 2010.
The business founded by Mr. Alling and other Samford University classmates has been "growing like gangbusters since June," the CEO said.
"Manufacturers and shippers are looking for different ways to save money in their transportation budget," he said.
Mr. Alling said that in the transportation industry, a lot of logistics operations are "kind of dinosaurs."
"We've got a lot of our own programs in house," he said. "We tailor to what our customers need."
For several years, Access America was a smaller player and it's now competing against bigger logistics companies nationally, Mr. Alling said.
"We're taking advantage of our scale now," he said.
2002: Access America Transport founded by Ted Alling and Barry Large as logistics division of Key-James Brick.
2005: Access America starts government services division.
2006: Company opens added locations in Alabama and Minnesota.
2007: Three more locations added.
2008: Access America recognized by Dunn & Bradstreet for customer satisfaction.
2009: Opens Eastgate Town Center office.
Source: Access America