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Frozen Growth

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  • | 9:18 a.m. February 25, 2011
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Cold is not something Gulf Coast residents have to deal with much. For Jim Carpenter, it's part of everyday life.

And now the president of HenneCold Storage Inc. has more shivering space. The Tampa-based company has nearly doubled its capacity of climate-controlled space for frozen, perishable and dry goods to at least 3 million cubic feet.

Increased demand and improved logistics are helping HenneCold grow its business, Carpenter says. Having started four years ago at 5301 E. Diana St., the company was exceeding its 500,000-cubic-foot capacity when it added 1.25 million cubic feet last year at 6408 E. 53rd St. Its latest addition opens more than 1.4 million cubic feet of cold storage at with at 1601 N. 50th St.

“We wanted to make sure we were doing it the right way,” Carpenter says. Current lower prices for real estate helped make expansion a bit more affordable, he says, but more space became necessary to meet clients' needs and as cold-storage space availability has shrunk within the Tampa Bay market.

HenneCold serves as a distribution point for various companies needing giant freezers to store meat, produce and dairy products, as well as other perishable commodities for which low temperatures and dry conditions are necessary prior to delivery.

Higher costs for diesel fuel have led trucking companies to carry full loads, rather than partially filled trailers, which also contributes to the need for more climate-controlled warehousing, Carpenter says. He adds that clients are also looking for more year-round than seasonal storage.

HenneCold serves as a Southeastern distribution center for Restaurant Depot, a College Point, N.Y.-based wholesaler, and Tampa-based M&B Products, which supplies juice and milk products to the food service industry in 33 states.

It also has plenty of local clients who rent space inside the coolers as needed, at a minimum rate of $500 per month.

Rental rates typically run between $7,000 and $13,000 monthly for 20,000 cubic feet, with prices peaking during summer.

Carpenter says the company now has 25 employees, having started with himself and two others, and would like to expand regionally within Tampa and possibly the Atlanta area.

“Our goal is to grow with our customers by cultivating long-term, mutually beneficial relationships,” he says. “That is why we go beyond what most facilities offer, and we do so in a way that enhances the customer experience.”

For example, HenneCold offers online invoicing to its customers at no extra charge, avoiding the need to pass along costs for paperwork or energy. Other value-added services include online inventory access and ordering, around-the-clock video surveillance, blast freezing and accommodations for oversized pallets.

During its expansion, HenneCold discovered a way to reduce its own overhead by converting to fluorescent from halogen lighting, which gave off heat inside coolers, following an audit by TECO Energy Inc. Carpenter says that simple change has helped cut his firm's power bill in half.

HenneCold is tied in with two related locally based companies, HenneCo Freight & Logistics Inc. and BenCo Transportation Inc., both of which can assist storage clients with transportation needs, Carpenter says.


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