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Bow liquor warehouse serves cost savings, nearly 100 local jobs

Exel Inc.'s new $20 million distribution center in Bow on October 11, 2013. The company won the 20-year contract with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to distribute for the state.  

(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Exel Inc.'s new $20 million distribution center in Bow on October 11, 2013. The company won the 20-year contract with the New Hampshire Liquor Commission to distribute for the state. (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission and Exel Inc. are almost ready to pop the cork and open a new $20 million distribution center in Bow on Nov. 1.

Last November, the liquor commission announced Exel had won the 20-year contract, picking the Ohio-based company over Nashua-based Law Warehouses Inc. and several other bidders. Law holds the current warehousing contract and went to court to fight the commission’s choice.

Exel also entered a separate contract with the state to transport liquor and wine from the Concord warehouse on Storrs Street and the new Bow warehouse to its 77 retail stores across the state.

State Liquor Commissioner Joseph Mollica said employees are now stocking the shelves at the Bow warehouse ahead of its opening in about three weeks.

Are you close to being able to open the new warehouse?

We’re on time. The product is being transferred from Law Warehouses to Exel, and we now also have inbound freight coming to the new warehouse. We will be on time for the new warehouse to open Nov. 1. The first order is leaving the warehouse Nov. 4.

How big is the warehouse, and how many units will it house?

The facility is about 247,000 square feet, and it’s 51 or 52 feet high. It will hold in excess of 750,000 cases. We also have room in our design . . . for expansion as well. One of the things that this warehouse has that we have not had in the past is we have 5,000 square feet of refrigerated space for particularly sensitive, high-end allocated wines.

What else will this new facility be able to provide for customers?

Because of the size and scope of the warehouse, there’s not necessarily product that we weren’t able to take in before, but we certainly can expand our sites on a broader collection. . . . What we’re looking to do is open two larger stores, even larger than the ones we have.

Exel spokeswoman Lynn Anderson said the company has hired the 85 employees and 10 drivers it will need to run the warehouse and transport its shipments.

How does this contract help Exel expand?

It’s certainly a great opportunity for us. We were very excited to earn the business. We are comfortable that we are the provider that can provide some great cost savings to the business and execute the business in a way that is exactly what the liquor commission is looking for. It is certainly a big presence for us in New Hampshire, which is great for us as an opportunity to expand geographically.

What sort of savings do you think Exel will be able to bring to the business?

There are $3 million of cost savings (estimated by Exel). . . . That’s over a 30-month time frame. It’s largely just through efficiencies in the business. We have a very broad experience in running warehouse distribution operations, and we’ve obviously learned a lot. . . . It’s really just the result of our experience.

We leverage technology to ensure that the product that is being used the most and going the quickest is located in an optimal place so it can move the least amount of space.

It’s things like that that are enhancing the productivity.

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