JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Many of us are familiar with the large buildings in downtown Jacksonville and the companies that call them home.
But there may be a few names that could leave you thinking, "I wonder what they do?"
Interline Brands may be one of them.
The publicly-traded company (IBI) has its name on two large downtown buildings. Interline is a business-to-business company.
It employs 550 people in Jacksonville and 3500 nationwide. The company distributes 100,000 products from different manufacturers to its 160,000 business customers across the United States and abroad.
Its customers are apartment complexes, schools and hospitals to a name a few.
Interline also owns 14 selling brands, which in turn, sell and distribute different products under each brand.
Whatever a customer wants, Interline probably can get and ship it to them.
"We offer products ranging from plumbing to electrical to air conditioning products and janitorial and personal hygiene products," said Interline's CEO Michael Grebe.
Products are delivered to Interline's 275,000 square foot Northside distribution center on trucks and given an ID number.
"Once a product is brought into the facility it's identified with a pallet tag or a pallet code, its mobile license plate through the distribution center," said operations manager Steve Rossman.
The Jacksonville warehouse is one of the largest of Interline's 55 distribution centers across America.
There's $18 million worth of inventory here.
"Every single day almost a half million dollars of sales leaves this operation and is generally shipped to either Jacksonville customers or customers in the greater North Florida area," said Grebe.
It's quite the automated process quickly getting product out the door, but Grebe said customer service is key. That's one reason why there's a small store up front where businesses can immediately pick up items.
"I buy a lot of air conditioning products here and I always get what I want," said Bob Alexander, who works for Ryder Truck.
Interline racked up $1.2 billion in sales last year. The company hired 80 new salespeople in 2011. About 40 stayed in the Jacksonville area.
Grebe said he's confident the company's aggressive sales plan will lead to more hires.
So the next time you see the Interline name, remember, it represents a whole lot of products that are being purchased by thousands of businesses across the United States.
First Coast News