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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Jan. 3, 2020 8 months ago

Increasing demand leads to new center for Lakewood Ranch manufacturing firm

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Sarasota-based Florikan E.S.A. recently opened a distribution center in Bowling Green.

There’s been much discussion in recent months about companies placing a big emphasis on improving distribution.

One company part of the trend is Sarasota-based Florikan E.S.A., a firm that manufactures, blends and distributes controlled release fertilizer for agricultural operations, golf courses, sod farms, professional greenhouses and nurseries.

To help meet customer demand, the company, which has a corporate office in Lakewood Ranch, recently expanded elsewhere in Florida, opening a new distribution center in Bowling Green, Hardee County, in the fall.

Florikan Marketing Coordinator Tony Petramala tells Coffee Talk the company already had a production facility an eighth of a mile down the road from the new distribution center. That production facility opened in October 2015. Because of the amount of product Florikan is producing out of the building, he says, it couldn’t use the facility as a combined production and distribution center any longer.

“We’ve been having increased demand year-over-year now,” he says. Florikan’s 2018 gross revenue was $46.84 million, up 15.4% from $40.56 million in 2017.

Some of the demand is driven by economic development in the real estate sector, Petramala says, and additional developments needing more plants and fertilizer.

Having a separate distribution facility will allow the company to serve the needs of its customers better, he says. Florikan’s primary season is the beginning of the year, with many orders in February and March. “The spring growing season is the biggest time for us,” he says. “We needed to get the building online before Christmas.”

The distribution facility includes a 20,000-square-foot main building and a 10,000-square-foot additional storage building. To make it suitable for its uses, Florikan refurbished the facility; Petramala declined to disclose the cost of that investment.

The new facility gives Florikan about 20% more truck capacity, Petramala says. That helps the company send out more trucks and keep its workforce focused on specific jobs. He also credits the distribution facility with improving the company’s accuracy, inventory and happiness of its transport drivers.

When it had a lot of people operating in a confined space, it wasn’t as efficient, Petramala says. “Your output is a lot smoother when you have everybody in their right place doing the right thing.”

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