Candy Warehouse has an enviable problem: The online bulk candy merchant has grown its business rapidly in a relatively short time, and it’s run out of space in its distribution center in Irwindale, CA.
As a result, it will move to a new warehouse this month that’s three times the size of its current location. Candy Warehouse signed a seven-year lease for a new 33,600-sq.-ft. facility in El Segundo, CA, says president Chris Pratt.
The fully air-conditioned new location is designed to preserve the freshness and shelf life of the merchant’s candy and chocolate, Pratt says. The Irwindale facility is only 50% air-conditioned. Candy Warehouse, which does not drop-ship goods, must carefully monitor the quality of its bulk candy and other products—especially during hot summer months.
El Segundo is located about a mile from both the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles International Airport. “During warm weather, our UPS and FedEx priority packages containing meltable candy will be shipping out of an airport that is generally 20 degrees cooler than airports used by our competitors,” Pratt says.
The new location is also close to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which will provide ready access to imports from around the world. Candy Warehouse, which recently created an Asian Candy section, also sells products from Germany (Reber Chocolate Specialties and Asbach Uralt) as well as France (Abtey Chocolates), and will continue adding other international brands.
“We’ve developed our own propriety software specific to perishable product fulfillment, and feature more exclusive products than any other candy store in the world,” Pratt says. “In the years ahead, we plan to develop several other snack-related domain names that we currently own.”
Founded in 1998, Candy Warehouse sells to businesses and individuals and now carries more than 5,000 varieties of candy and related products. The company’s sales last year were $7.7 million; Pratt expects sales to grow by about 15% in 2009.
Pratt started the business out of his apartment in Pasadena, CA. From 2000 to 2007, the business operated out of an 8,000-sq.-ft. building in Irwindale, and from 2008 to 2009, the company had five buildings totaling 12,000 sq. ft. in Irwindale.
“We’re completely out of space right now,” Pratt notes. “We currently have 25 employees, and plan to hire more once we’ve settled into our new location.”
Candy Warehouse’s new El Segundo facility will include distribution, a 10-seat call center, and a creative department, as well as a showroom where customers can browse, sample and pick up their online orders. Pratt says. He’s also considering adding an East Coast warehouse in a few years.