Made in Valdosta: Outsource Logistics By Stuart Taylor [email protected] VALDOSTA — Outsource Logistics got its start in 1999 when Paul Everett decided to get into the distribution business after years of working for Griffin. “I managed their local warehouse and some of their third-party facilities across the country,” said Everett. “I decided Valdosta was a great place for distribution. I didn’t understand that nearly as well then as I do now.”
Everett leased a warehouse, bought a small delivery truck, and started trying to find clients. For help with that, he turned to Lee Smith who for 20 years had been working as a sales rep for Roadway Express. “Paul was the warehousing expert,” said Smith. “My expertise was more on the freight side. We decided if we combined the two, it’d create a logistics company before people knew what logistics meant.”
With Smith coming on board in 2000 as a co-owner, Smith and Everett set out to build the business. Like many businesses just starting out, those early years found Smith and Everett wearing many different hats. Everett recalls late nights, his wife and him packaging batteries to be shipped out. But those late nights paid off as the business grew. “It grew until the Twin Towers fell,” said Smith. “It shrunk about 20 percent of our volume literally overnight. That was a historical time. We started back over, started rebuilding warehousing clientele.”
And while the company had to rebound again in wake of the Great Recession, Outsource Logistics has grown greatly since its inception, thanks in part to it being in Valdosta. “We’re right here on I-75, so you’ve got north and south traffic. We’re just north of I-10, which gives you east and west traffic. We’re just close enough to the ports that you become an option for people that are importing/exporting,” Smith said. “But we’re far enough away that we’re not involved in the traffic issues they face there.”
So, what is it Outsource Logistics does exactly? “We provide a personalized, private distribution center without the customer having to invest in the capital assets to provide one for themselves,” said Everett. Clients use Outsource’s warehouses to house their products until they need to be picked up and distributed, renting space in much the same way a company might rent office space. Along with storage, Outsource offers distribution across the United States to clients. “It’s a complete turnkey method,” said Smith. “We can truck it in, warehouse it and distribute it.” The majority of the products Outsource deals with are agriculture and/or industrial chemicals, including herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and growth regulators for plants.
The company also does food-grade warehousing for bottled water. “Pretty much anything that doesn’t require refrigeration, heating or cooling, we can handle,” said Everett. Now in its 16th year, Everett and Smith have plans to continue expanding Outsource Logistics. “The next developing market for us to help feed this operation is to get a location in Savannah,” said Smith. “The port in Savannah is growing at such a rapid pace. We can help feed a lot of business down here in Valdosta. We know why Valdosta is such a great distribution point; we need to be in Savannah to convince those folks.”
“Savannah is definitely a target,” said Everett. “And we’ve got a couple of other targets on our radar.” Along with geographic expansion, Everett and Smith are also looking to grow Outsource’s trucking fleet as well as services.
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