Coming Walmart business the latest to choose Monroe for large facilities, new jobs

Giant warehouses cover Park North in Monroe where Amazon openly built  a million-square-foot distribution center. FILE PHOTO
Giant warehouses cover Park North in Monroe where Amazon openly built a million-square-foot distribution center. FILE PHOTO

As the retrofitting of the former Hayneedle distribution center is nearing completion and hiring has started for the Walmart Fulfillment Center, Monroe is busy diversifying and expanding its logistics and manufacturing areas.

The city is in the process of developing a new comprehensive master plan as it has already completed the build-out for the Park North industrial park.

Last week, Walmart announced it would hire 200 people and a number of salaried positions at its 650 Gateway Blvd. facility. This is in addition to the approximately 63 employees that were there when Walmart acquired the company that owned Hayneedle in 2016, said Charles Crowson, a Walmart corporate spokesman.

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“While we are known for logistics, we also have a strong manufacturing base throughout the city,” said Jennifer Patterson, Monroe’s assistant to the city manager for economic development. “We have identified a strength in logistics, but also in manufacturing of steel, auto parts and advanced plastics.”

In addition to the Walmart fulfillment facility at Park North, the industrial park located a half-mile from the Interstate 75/Ohio 63 interchange is also the home to manufacturers UGN and Serta Simmons Bedding as well as Amazon, Home Depot, DHL, Cornerstone Brands and Blue Buffalo distribution and e-commerce fulfillment centers.

On the other side of the I-75 interchange, the city has other manufacturing and logistics facilities.

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One area off Ohio 63 and Salzman Road, about five miles from I-75, includes the Monroe Commerce Park, where the Kohl’s E-Fulfillment Center has been in operation for about 20 years. Across Salzman Road from Kohl’s is an e-commerce center operated by Bed, Bath & Beyond. Honey Cell Inc. Midwest and Xerox also have facilities there. A new $55 million Kroger robotic distribution center is nearing completion in early 2021 nearby.

The other area is the Monroe Logistics Center on Logistics Way where Walmart-Hayneedle and Blue Buffalo have additional distribution facilities.

There is still land available for development at the Park 63 and Summit Commerce Park sites.

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Monroe is the home of other manufacturers such as Baker Concrete, KLW Plastics, Worthington Steel, and Deceuninck North America and the supply chain company Presto Foods.

Longtime developer Lenny Robinson said the city is becoming “a pretty popular site. People are always knocking at the door.”

Robinson and some fellow investors sold about 430 acres that eventually created Park North.

“The city should work with a private developer to develop future commercial and industrial parks based on what citizens would like to see, and what it takes to attract a company to Monroe,” he said.

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Robinson said Monroe thrived during recent economic downturns and its location on I-75 is attractive because of the many amenities available in Monroe.

A check of various websites, including the city’s economic development page at www.i75economicdevelopment.org, has a long list of available jobs throughout the city’s manufacturers and logistics/distribution centers.