New jobs possible with effort by Tri-State Enterprises to expand warehouse operations

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 1,357 views 

Tri-State Enterprises hopes to expand warehouse operations at its 5412 S. 24th St., location in Fort Smith. The move is likely to add jobs, according to company owner Tristan Taylor, who appeared Tuesday (April 3) before the city’s planning commission to ask for a variety of variance approvals.

Tri-State is a distributor of auto parts, specializing in the distribution of aftermarket auto parts and truck accessories in the central United States. While it transports materials with a fleet of 120 trucks, it primarily acts as a wholesaler to retail businesses across eight states. Locally, Tri-State serves companies like Come Get Ya Some, California Customs, and River Valley Truck Outfitters. The company employs 212 with 130 at the 24th Street location. Taylor said Tri-State had added 11 employees at the site in the last two weeks. The company also has operations in North Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Once we get this warehouse built and established, we’ll be adding additional employees to help move the product. We’ve grown, and we want to continue to grow right here in Fort Smith, and we’re excited to be a part of it,” Taylor said.

Taylor did not provide the number of planned job additions as a result of the warehouse nor did he offer the cost of the facility, though the latter information will be available when Tri-State files for a building permit should the requests be approved.

Tri-State was established in 1977. Taylor joined 10 years later as part of the sales department and had the opportunity to purchase the company in 2015. During his first year, Taylor said, revenue was “about $3 million” and there were 23 employees. Since switching ownership, Taylor said the company has grown by 48% and is on pace for “15%-16% growth in 2018.”

“We’ve had a lot of good things happen. We’re very blessed, very fortunate,” he added.

The planned 100,000-square foot warehouse addition will be located in an industrial zone close to a residential area. The company said it had met with area residents with the only concern being how lighting might affect the nearby neighborhood. The company plans to build privacy fencing, and said no residents had objected thus far to the development plan.

Variance requests include a front yard setback reduction to 90 feet from 100, an interior side yard setback to 70 feet from 100, and a rear yard setback to 80 feet from 100. The addition also will shift parking to improve visibility for employees leaving the facility as well as traffic along 24th Street.

While no approvals were forthcoming at Tuesday’s study session, the commission will make its decision at the April 10 regular meeting. From there, their recommendation will go before the Board of Directors for final approval.