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Air Liquide-owned supplier opens distribution center in Henderson

Materials supplier Airgas held a grand opening Monday for its new Henderson distribution facility, after relocating from its previous facility in Southern California.

The company, owned by Air Liquide, supplies speciality gasses such as liquid hydrogen and protective equipment to businesses in fields such as medical, food processing, metalworking and manufacturing. It also operates retail locations across the country, including four in Southern Nevada, selling gas, welding and industrial equipment as well as PPE and safety supplies.

“Henderson offered the ideal combination of reach, real estate, and workforce,” Jay Worley, chief operating officer at Airgas, said. “We can reach our customers and our branches in the western United States here very effectively. The available property is very attractive, and the workforce that we’re already finding out is encouraging. It’s an engaged group of people.”

Construction on the 224,000-square-foot distribution center was completed in August, with products arriving at the facility in September and shipping out in October, according to a news release. Airgas CEO Marcelo Fioranelli said during Monday’s grand opening that the distribution center can accommodate over 19,000 items related to medical, industrial and welding safety products as well as specialty gasses.

The company moved its location from Whittier, California to Henderson this past year.

Worley said it’s the sixth regional distribution center for Airgas, and it will serve as the main facility for the company’s operations in western states. It also helps the firm achieve its goal of being able to ship products to 95 percent of the U.S. population within two days, according to Worley.

Henderson Mayor Debra March said she thinks the city was chosen by Airgas because of its “central location,” since the city is about five hours away from the Port of Long Beach in Long Beach, California and road access to other states is easily accessible.

But it wasn’t just those factors that enticed Airgas to Henderson. The company received $362,882 in tax incentives from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in March. Worley said the tax abatement “did play a factor” in the company relocating its distribution center to Henderson.

In return for the abatements, Airgas was required to hire 55 workers in two years. So far, Airgas is keeping those promises. Worley said the company has invested $7 million into its Henderson facility. It currently employs 55 people but expects to grow its staff count to 66 by next year.

“We’re already approaching that (threshold) now,” Worley said. “Business is good and I think the opportunities that are going to exist here are likely to surpass our initial projections.”

March, who also serves as the chair of the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, thinks having a facility like the one from Airgas benefits Southern Nevada.

“A distribution facility like this allows for us to reach the western states with the important resources like hydrogen for transportation or the liquid gasses that hospitals require,” she said.

The Henderson distribution facility is the newest one for Airgas, and the design is focused on filling online orders because of e-commerce’s rise during the pandemic, according to Worley. He also noted there is still “space to grow” at its Henderson location.

In total, Airgas has 1,400 locations with nearly 18,000 employees, and in Nevada it has 11 locations with 143 employees across the state, according to the company.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter.

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