Written By: Greg Bennett
GRINDING OUT WORK ON CABELA’S TOOELE WAREHOUSE
Tooele, Utah, has a unique blend of convenience and remoteness that makes it ideal for large distribution warehouses. It is only about 30 miles west of downtown Salt Lake City (it’s even closer to the airport) and sits right on I-80, the main east-west thoroughfare through the western United States. However, it’s also a small town surrounded by isolated areas of government land and the Bonneville Salt Flats, which means it’s free from the traffic and congestion of larger cities, making it easy for trucks to get on and off the freeway.
When Cabela’s — a nationwide outdoor retailer — needed a warehouse to better serve the western states, building it in Tooele made sense. And Big-D Construction — a Salt Lake City-based commercial contractor — was picked as the company to put together the 600,000-square-foot building. Other than the roofing system, the building is built entirely of concrete. Besides the tilt-up concrete walls, the super-flat floor required for Cabela’s automated, laser-guided retrieval equipment meant the concrete supplier had to be good. Enter Geneva Rock.
“The biggest challenge to this project was the remote location,” says Shane Wayment, concrete project manager for Big-D Construction. “Being in a remote area, getting manpower and ready-mix to the site was a big deal. Geneva’s competitors couldn’t have done the job.” Not only did Geneva Rock already have a ready-mix plant minutes from the job, but the company opened a second batch plant at the location used for the Cabela’s warehouse.
“We wanted to be the solution Big-D needed, so we had a lot of meetings and decided this was the best way to meet their needs,” says Justin Reece, Tooele concrete operations manager.
ADJUSTING AS NEEDED
But having enough ready-mix available for the pours does no good unless Geneva Rock had the drivers to deliver it. “We hired three more drivers and would pull from our Salt Lake-area locations, as needed,” Reece says. The driving schedule required a lot of coordination and Geneva usually utilized 15 to 20 trucks at a time on the 30-minute, round-trip drive.
The new warehouse will streamline distribution to Cabela’s growing footprint throughout the western United States. In fact, besides the retail store in Lehi, Utah, Cabela’s has a store in Ammon, Idaho, and has announced a second Utah location, this one in Farmington.
“These jobs — like doing something like this for a Cabela’s — don’t come around very often here in Tooele County, so you scratch and fight to get them and work to make them profitable at the same time,” Reece says. “When we got this project, everyone was excited. We knew we had to pull together to get it done and exceed expectations.”