Acme Tools has completed work on an addition to its distribution center that doubled its footprint and is looking to hire new employees to accommodate its continued growth.

Construction on the 40,000-square-foot addition to the Acme Tools e-commerce distribution center wrapped up in mid-September, and it is now up and running. The new space means the company can add thousands of products to its online sales platform, which it projects to grow by more than 20% each year for the next five years, according to a business financing application it submitted to the city in May 2019.

“E-commerce continues to provide sales growth as a result of increased product selection online and has accelerated during the pandemic,” Paul Kuhlman, vice president of merchandise operations for Acme Tools, said in a Sept. 16 press release. “The number of products available to order online has surpassed 80,000 and the additional distribution center space will allow us to continue to grow our online product offering.”

Acme Tools is looking to hire as many as 25 full-time employees, warehouse associates and customer support staff to handle the increase in sales. The company also will hire workers on a part-time basis. So far, six new employees have been hired, according to Acme Tools spokesman Jerry Murray.

Murray said he isn’t sure how long it will take to hire the rest of those new workers, but he’s sure the company will meet its goal.

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“With the pandemic, there are probably a number of people that need employment,” Murray told the Herald. “This is really an excellent opportunity for those people if they're interested.”

The facility features smart systems and automated technology, including an integrated conveyor system to help workers be more efficient and productive. The facility added three more shipping and receiving doors that will accommodate more trucks delivering product or sending outbound shipments to customers.

To build the new addition, the company took out a loan for about $160,000 through the Grand Forks Jobs Development Authority. It used that loan, along with a Bank of North Dakota grant, to help buy down interest on a $2.8 million commercial loan.

In May 2019, the city granted Acme Tools' request for a five-year declining property tax exemption on the value the new addition adds to its distribution center. Under the deal, the company doesn’t have to pay additional property taxes in its first year. It will pay 20% of its new property taxes the second year, 40% for the third year, 60% the fourth year and 80% for the fifth year. After that, the company is responsible for all of its added property taxes.

Acme Tools first opened its distribution center in the business park in 2014, and it was the first building to be constructed there.

The company was founded in Grand Forks in 1948. The tool and equipment retailer has 10 retail stores in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa and uses its online platform to sell its products nationwide.