3 years later: Caterpillar seeing success
SPOKANE – From Interstate 90, it might be tough to gauge how big the Caterpillar redistribution warehouse really is: it would fit 10 football fields under its roof. Three years after the startup came to the West Plains, the business it’s doing is equally impressive.
Caterpillar originally projected it would bring between 100-150 jobs to town. Today, the business employs right around 160 people and serves dealers throughout the Northwest and into Alaska, Canada and even Russia. Prior to the plant, those same customers were served out of Denver or Caterpillar’s headquarters in Illinois. Now that Caterpillar is a couple days closer to those customers, it’s seeing business boom.
Caterpillar logistics center manager Brad Gile said business with Canada has grown in particular, where the company supplies equipment to the tar sands oil fields.
“We’re a lot closer than Central Illinois,” Gile said. “So we get to our customers much faster and they get a better response from the facility.”
Greater Spokane, Inc. president and CEO, Rich Hadley, who recruited the company to Spokane, said Caterpillar’s business success serves as a model for other companies looking to expand.
“Everybody knows Caterpillar, so whether you’re going on the Interstate or you read it in the Wall Street Journal, Spokane gets mentioned,” Hadley said. “That’s good for us because we are a transportation, logistics and distribution community.”
If Caterpillar’s business continues to grow as projected, the company has expansion capabilities, too, owning plenty of land next to the current warehouse.