Archive for Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Moving day coming soon for local firm

July 19, 2000

In about 10 days, employees at Everlasting Specialties will explore the wide open spaces of their new headquarters.

The wholesale company, which sells dried flower arrangements, plans to move into a 10,000-square-foot building in Tonganoxie's Urban Hess industrial park.

"Hopefully, we're going to try to make the computer changeover on the weekend of July 29," said co-owner Steve LaForge. "I'd say, realistically, next week we'll begin to move in."

That's about 30 days behind the target LaForge had set.

"We're getting into our really busy time," he said. "We were trying to beat the rush."

"That just adds another facet that's exciting," he added, with a wry chuckle.

Work also is under way on infrastructure improvements in Urban Hess to prepare for the construction of a new home for the Cabinet Shop of Basehor. Kenneth Lindsley, co-owner of that company, said it likely would be a year before the custom cabinet-making operation moves to the industrial park.

The company plans a 10,000- to 12,000-square-foot structure on two lots.

The 9-year-old Everlasting Specialties now works out of the 130-year-old former Tonganoxie railroad depot, as well as three other buildings.

When LaForge and his partners his wife, Cindy, and his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Jim and Kara Bennett purchased the Urban Hess building, it was a mere shell. During the past few months, contractors have completed electrical, plumbing and other interior work in the 2-year-old structure. The building, which can be expanded by 15,000 square feet, now includes a reception area, offices and an 8,000-suare-foot production and storage area.

Much of the company's success stems from the Internet. Everlasting Specialties offers two web pages: tfdepot.com for wholesalers and thewreathdepot.com for retail customers.

It's not clear whether the firm will add to its seven-member workforce.

"We're going to get into the new building and assess that," LaForge said. "We've been so inefficient over here. We're not going to let anybody go that's for sure."

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