After sitting vacant for the past few years, the former Chrysler car dealership, located at 180 S. Business 49, will soon be the home of a Neosho business once again.
Lambert Vet Supply, currently located at 13062 Laura Lane, has purchased the building, and plan to begin moving in within 60 days, according to General Manager Doug Hughes.
“We will be moving all operations to the new building,” Hughes said.
The company, with other locations in Nebraska and Kansas, moved into Neosho in Oct. 2011.
Hughes said they have experienced rapid growth since locating in Neosho, and have been interested in relocating to a larger facility since early in their move.
“The facility that we’re in, we had hoped would last about three years,” Hughes said. “We’ve had to start turning down clients because we couldn’t take additional business because of the confinements of the warehouse. So that put us looking for a larger building.”
The pet supply company is a wholesale and retail distributor of veterinary and pet products, and employs a total of 12 people at its Neosho location, though Hughes said that number will grow soon.
“The move will mean additional employees,” Hughes said. “We started with four employees here, it seemed like overnight we went to seven, now we’re at 12. We’ll probably be looking at between 25 and 28 employees in the new facility, hired over a 12-month period.”
Hughes said their current location on Laura Lane offers a small storefront for local shoppers to purchase pet supplies, and the company plans to expand that storefront in their new location.
He said he hopes to expand to an approximate 2,800 square-foot storefront. The building the company is currently in is 1,700 square-foot, while the building they’re moving to is around 21,000 square-foot.
Hughes said the store would offer services such as self-service dog washes and professional grooming.
While the goal is to have the storefront up and running by 2014, other aspects of the business operations will be relocating much sooner.
“Within the next 60 days we’ll move the dog food and dog food delivery and the field reps, which will be five of our employees,” Hughes said. “Then, in 90 days, we hope to have the IT department down and we’ll actually move our sales team in and at that point we’ll start hiring additional sales people and then myself and the other team members will be moving in there within 120 days.”
Hughes said the company plans to put their current location up for sale soon.
He said one of the company’s keys to recent success is their location in Neosho. With their move to Southwest Missouri, it allowed the company to make weekly deliveries to sites in Arkansas and Missouri, locations they could not deliver to as frequently from their sites in Nebraska and Kansas.
“Now that we’ve got a division in Missouri, in one year we’ve upped our dog food sales by about 108 percent,” Hughes said.
He said the company looks forward to locating closer to downtown Neosho, and is considering offering several additional services, including pet food delivery.
“I just look forward to working with the community,” Hughes said. “If anything is weak with us right now, it’s getting to know the people, the names and the places that we need to know to make things happen. We’re really looking forward to the ability to offer some really niche services.”
The vacant Ford dealership, located across the street at 222 S. Business 49, also sold recently.
Quality Petroleum, based out of Little Rock, Ark., have purchased the building, Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Gib Garrow announced on Tuesday, May 21, in a meeting of the Economic Development Committee.
Garrow said that business would bring eight to 10 jobs to Neosho.
“That’s a building that needed to be utilized,” Garrow said. “Those are two good projects that we definitely needed to see.”