Running a business circa COVID-19 is forcing organizations of all sizes to readapt and readjust, not just for the now, but the future. A recent example comes from one of the most notable and largest private employers in the region: drinkware manufacturer Tervis.
The company, in mid-June, will list its two-building headquarters campus in south Sarasota County — nearly 120,000-square-feet of office and factory space — for sale. It’s been in the space, 201 Triple Diamond Blvd., North Venice, which includes the brightly-lit Tervis logo visible from Interstate 75, for 15 years. The listing agents, Michele Fuller and Nick DeVito of Ian Black Real Estate, will seek $14.5 million for the property, spread on 12.5 acres.
With some 500 employees, Tervis, the company behind permanently sealed, insulated double-wall cups it says keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, plans to relocate into two spaces. Combined, those spaces will be less square feet than its current home. One space will be for manufacturing, while the other will be for a corporate office.
A large swath of non-factory floor employees will continue to work from home after the move, something Tervis started when the pandemic forced it to temporarily close operations. That worked out so well, says Tervis President Rogan Donelly, that it “kick-started” a larger conversation about selling the facility and shirking its space. “Our team members proved to be efficient and productive working from home,” he says.
To meet a surge in demand, Tervis spent at least $7 million in 2010-2011 to expand its current facility, including new production equipment and upgraded IT and manufacturing systems. But as its products changed, including a recent emphasis on stainless steel, Donelly says the facility required changes as well, including an updated layout and more space for drop-shipping.
With that in mind, and physical work in a post-COVID-19 world, selling the facility made sense, he says. “We are an agile company that can adjust to any situation,” Donelly tells Coffee Talk, “even a pandemic.”
The sale and pending move, Donelly adds, isn’t from a drop in sales. While sales for the year have been down, particularly with wholesale clients like Bed, Bath & Beyond struggling, the company, he says, is actually outperforming its COVID-19 adjusted sales forecasts. That stems from increased online sales. (Tervis was able to pay all its furloughed employees in April, with funds from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.)
Tervis’ hunt for new manufacturing space will begin in the south county area, while the it will look north of its facility for office space. “We fully intend to stay in Sarasota County,” says Donelly, of the company that’s been in the Venice/south Sarasota County area since the 1950s.
Fuller, who with DeVito is both selling the current property and helping Tervis find new spaces, doesn’t expect the pandemic to dent buyer interest. They plan to market the space outside the region and Florida, and work industrial contacts. “We will be aggressive in getting the work out,” Fuller tells Coffee Talk.