Forklift dealer Yale Carolinas is expanding its footprint in Chattanooga, nearly doubling its space and ramping up plans to add to its work force by about 25 percent.
"We've been able to continue to grow" despite the sluggish economy, said Deron Huling, the company's general sales manager in Chattanooga. "You may find that unusual. We've had zero layoffs."
Yale Carolinas is shifting from its longtime North Creek Road location to Bonnyshire Industrial Park off Bonny Oaks Drive near the Volkswagen auto assembly plant.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company is leasing about 17,000 square feet and doubling its office and showroom space.
Jeff Jennings of NAI Charter Real Estate Co., who represented Yale Carolinas in the building lease, said he has had a lot of interest in sites on the Bonny Oaks Drive corridor and between Interstate-75 and Highway 153.
"It's nice to see a company expand during the slow economy," Mr. Jennings said.
Yale Carolinas, which also handles other material handling vehicles in addition to forklifts, is expanding to about a 2-acre site, according to Charter.
Mr. Huling said the company employs about 20 people and plans are to add up to five more as the economy improves.
Locally, the company's revenues are about $4.5 million annually, he said.
ABOUT YALE CAROLINAS
* Founded in 1988 by Joe Wheeler and partners Bob Downing and Ken Kapps, the distributor has nine branches in six Southeast states.
* Yale Carolinas sells more than 5,000 material handling products including:
-- Manual pallet jacks
Source: The company
"We hope to grow that," Mr. Huling said. "We need more space to offer better quality service."
He also likes the location of the new site, set to open about July 1, because of its proximity to I-75 and Highway 153.
"It helps provide fast response time," Mr. Huling said.
Mr. Jennings said the new investment says a lot about Chattanooga.
"It speaks well for Chattanooga ... that an industry leader is heavily investing in the city," he said.
Mr. Huling, who didn't know the total investment, said the company has been in Chattanooga for 18 years.
In the lease, David DeVaney of Charter represented Dillard Partnership, which is the building's landlord.