Woodstream moving HQ, 180 employees out of Lititz

By on September 12, 2018

But Lititz factory to stay put and the company to invest up to $2.5 million on current headquarters building

When a company is looking for a building where it can put a new corporate headquarters, its decision can boil down to pretty simple criteria: Where is there an available space that’s big enough, affordable and appealing?

For Woodstream Corp., a global maker of branded pest and animal control products, as well as lawn and garden products, the answer is not its longtime home of Lititz Borough.
Instead, it’s downtown Lancaster.

Woodstream in August announced plans to move its headquarters, with 180 employees, from 69 N. Locust St. in Lititz to a mostly vacant office building at 29 E. King St. in center city.
But the news isn’t all bad for Lititz as Woodstream will make a sizable investment in its current HQ building. The company anticipates spending $2 million to $2.5 million to change the uses of its current headquarters building, which measures about 200,000 square feet. About half will be turned into warehousing by installing dock doors and removing interior walls. That way, raw materials stored in the factory can be moved into the new warehouse, freeing that factory space for additional manufacturing.

Adding manufacturing equipment is the norm at the Lititz plant and elsewhere, Nistal said.

“We added new equipment in 2017, 2018 and have plans through 2021,” he said. “I can’t talk about the amount and what the equipment is, but we have a long-term investment plan to increase capacity and improve efficiency in all of our factories.”

Woodstream also will move and upgrade its 5,000-square-foot testing laboratory, now on two floors in the back of the building, into a one-floor space in the front, providing a more efficient layout. The upgraded equipment will let Woodstream “do broader testing as we expand into new categories,” Nistal explained.

In addition, Woodstream will create a planogram center in the former headquarters. A planogram is a duplicate of the way a company’s products are presented in stores, shelves and all. In the center, each of Woodstream’s major retailers will have a planogram of their Woodstream product presentation.

“Adding a planogram center is a true asset that will enable our sales organization and product management organization to better analyze retail space and determine how to better serve our consumers and customers,” Nistal said.

Finally, about 15,000 square feet of the current headquarters will be demolished to create a turnaround for trucks serving the factory, so the trucks create fewer traffic issues for neighboring residents.

Developer Kris Kauffman and President and CEO of Woodstream Corp. Miguel Nistal at 29 East King Street, the recently acquired building where Woodstream headquarters will relocate following renovations.

Still, Nistal is excited about moving to Lancaster.

“Having a new, modern office building in a vibrant, growing downtown enables us to attract more talent and retain that talent as we continue to grow our company,” said Woodstream’s Miguel Nistal, president and CEO.

Woodstream has signed a 10-year lease proposal agreement to rent 47,000 square feet in the building &tstr; enough space for 225 employees, which the growing company hopes to need in the future.

The agreement, which is a precursor to a finalized lease, includes lease-renewal and building-purchase options. Following a $2 million investment to renovate the space, Woodstream plans to move its headquarters staff downtown in March. Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace called the choice by a firm of Woodstream’s stature “a testament to the vibrant community we’ve worked so hard to create. We can’t wait to welcome them to their new home.”

Back in Lititz, Woodstream will repurpose the current headquarters into warehousing and other uses while continuing to operate its factory across the street. The factory, which employs another 180 people, is where Woodstream manufactures Victor mouse and rat traps, Havahart cage traps, Terro ant bait, Victor mole and gopher repellents and other Victor products.

Yearlong search

Woodstream began searching for new headquarters in June 2017, after concluding that renovating its current headquarters &tstr; parts of which date to 1849 &tstr; would be too costly.
With the help of the Economic Development Company of Lancaster County and Compass Real Estate, Woodstream examined numerous options, eventually narrowing its search to existing buildings, because it felt new construction would take too long.

The company found one property in Lititz Borough that it thought could work, Nistal said. It’s the former Susquehanna Bank headquarters, most recently vacated by the bank’s successor, BB&T.
But, to Woodstream’s chagrin, it discovered Lancaster General Health already had plans to move 400 workers from the Burle Business Park in Lancaster to the Cedar Street site.
That necessitated Woodstream looking outside the borough. Nistal said the company hadn’t considered downtown Lancaster until the 29 E. King St. property was brought to its attention.

“We hadn’t thought about that. In our mind, we were still thinking we’d be in a campus somewhere,” he said. But Woodstream was impressed with the potential of the building, the many redevelopment projects downtown and the enthusiasm of its employees for the site.

“And the landlords worked very hard with us to make it viable financially,” Nistal added.

EDC President Lisa Riggs said of the outcome:

“We see this decision as a terrific way for the company to strengthen its local profile, appeal to a more geographically diverse employment base and expand its community engagement.”
Shane Weaver, Lititz Borough Council president, thanked Woodstream for keeping the borough informed during the search process.

“They really tried to stay. They looked at all their options. At some point, it becomes a business decision and we understand that… We’re happy that the factory jobs are staying and the headquarters is being repurposed.”

128-year history
Woodstream’s roots in Lititz date to 1890, when the J.M. Mast Co. rodent-trap company was established. It was later renamed the Animal Trap Co. of America in the 1920s and Woodstream in the 1960s.

For nearly all of that time, Woodstream has been a leader in its industry. Its products are sold in more than 100,000 stores &tstr; including Walmart, Target, Amazon, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Ace Hardware &tstr; and to pest-control professionals in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It does not disclose its annual revenues.

Besides Lancaster County, Woodstream also has operations in Mechanicsburg; Knoxville, Tennessee; St. Joseph, Missouri; Brampton, Ontario; Oakham, England, and Shenzhen, China.

About Cory Van Brookhoven

2 Comments

  1. Lewis Johnson

    September 12, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    The business is growing and they and they need to move to a bigger place.

  2. Jamie M

    March 20, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Congratulations and good luck to Woodstream! An in-house planogram center sounds especially promising. I hope it has 3D planogram software capabilities. This visual merchandising tech really does make a difference.

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