A major new addition is being added to Van Buren’s Industrial Park Road, adjacent to Tankersley Foodservice headquarters. The company filed for a $6.1 million building permit in September to build a truck maintenance facility on a 14-acre plot of land at 3201 Industrial Park Road.
The new project will include five service bays, a full-service carwash and a fuel island for its 180 pieces of equipment, said President and CEO Thomas Moon.
“Currently, we have two bays for truck maintenance. This will be a full-size maintenance facility,” Moon said. “It will allow us to upgrade our property to fully service equipment from both companies properly.”
JR’s Trucking, a multi-temp over-the-road truck line, is based out of the same headquarters as is White Dairy International. The new 15,480-square-foot truck maintenance facility will be able to service around 450 pieces of equipment. Crawford Construction is the contractor for the project.
“We are a local company, and we like to do business with local companies. They are doing an outstanding job for us,” Moon said.
Plans for the facility include parking lots for trucks and equipment, which will free up space at the facility at 3203 Industrial Park Road.
“We are basically out of capacity,” Moon said. “Since moving to Van Buren in 1998, we have seen tremendous growth. This will allow us to grow our company fleet.”
Freeing up the space used for parking will allow the company to expand its “footprint to allow for further growth,” he added.
The new truck maintenance facility also will allow the company to be more efficient with repair, fueling and cleaning of equipment. It also will run more efficiently with LED lights and other amenities.
The truck maintenance space at Tankersley is leased to a Ryder Transportation, who does all equipment maintenance for the companies. That will continue with the new facility, Moon said. Ryder has six employees for that operation. That should increase by three to four once the new facility is completed, which is expected to be around February 2020, he added.
“The No. 1 thing this (new facility) will do for our company is allow us to grow our operation,” Moon said. “More property and more space will give us more ability to grow our business.”
The company opened a new office in Oklahoma City in 2018, and plans include growing that market and moving into the north Dallas market, Moon said.
“We think this will allow us to expand our operation’s footprint and allow for growth. We are very fortunate and proud of the opportunity we have had and continue to have here,” Moon said.
According to the Tankersley Foodservice website, Ross Tankersley Sr. started White Dairy Ice Cream in 1928 in Fort Smith. In 1938, Ross Tankersley Jr. won a meat packing company in a poker game, and Tankersley Brothers Meat Packing Co. began. It was soon followed by Tankersley Brothers Frozen Foods. The Community Abattoir joined the group in 1966. Eventually, both the meat packing company and the abattoir would close.
White Dairy Ice Cream was sold to Hiland Dairy in 1997, but the international division and Tankersley Brothers Frozen Foods remained privately owned. The company moved to the former Affiliated Foods warehouse in Van Buren, and Tankersley Foodservice began in 1998.
In 2013, Tankersley Foodservice put in a $4 million addition to their Van Buren facility. The expansion increased the size of Tankersley’s distribution center to approximately 157,000 square feet, which includes an additional 28,000-square feet of freezer space, a new refrigerated dock and new customer service offices.