A Solution Fit for the King

Apple King, a fruit packer in Yakima, Washington, had outgrown its existing cold storage and was in need of an additional cold storage facility. The family-owned fruit business knew they needed more cold storage for its packed fruit and so they called Eric Anderson, a project manager at DACO Corporation.

“I had worked with Apple King previously and I was contacted by one of the principals at the company asking about how a room for rack should be laid out because they were looking at building some additional cold storage,” says Anderson. “They had some drawings mocked up based on a concrete tilt up when I asked them if they had considered rack support as a solution.”

At the time, there were no rack supported cold storage facilities in Yakima County. However, Eric contacted his colleague, Craig Gilbert, a project manager at Applied Handling NW a Division of DACO Corporation, to discuss the benefits of a rack supported structure with Apple King.

“Concrete tilt up buildings were the predominant solution for the fruit packing industry in Washington,” says Anderson. “So we looked at the cost of doing a concrete building but then they’d have to put the rack inside it. So Craig and I explained that instead, they could put the rack up and then wrap it with our insulated panels and accomplish the same thing.”

Eric and Craig explained all of the pros and the single con of a rack supported structure versus a concrete tilt up with Apple King.

“The only drawback with a rack supported structure is lack of flexibility,” says Gilbert. “But because it was a cooler, where they were stacking packed fruit, it didn’t need to be flexible. So the biggest objection was eliminated quickly. From there we discussed cost-savings and space-savings, both of which are advantages of a rack-supported structure. We also counseled them that there could be a tax advantage from the standpoint that everything from the slab up can be pretty much taken down and moved, so it’s not fixed construction so the depreciation period was much better. The installation duration was much shorter. There were a lot of advantages that they saw.”

The rack-supported structure also had future advantages for Apple King.

“The design that we ultimately went with allows future replacement of man aboard lifts because they can use AGVs,” says Anderson. “So, we were providing value in terms of looking forward and showing them how we can not only help them with their current situation but moving forward as labor costs increase and resources diminish.”

However, the evolution of the project did not end with an agreement on a rack-supported structure.

“As the project kept evolving, we were asked to take on more responsibility for the building,” says Gilbert. “So what started as a 26,000 sq. ft. rack supported cooler morphed into us supplying their 14,000 sq. ft. shipping dock, their 2 story offices, the mechanical room and all of the dock equipment, all of the engineering for the slab. Retaining walls. So it just morphed into a huge undertaking.”

The project took two years from the first conversation to the completion of installation. The building is now completed and ready for use for its first apple season in 2018. The building consists of 2,800 pallet positions of 3-deep pushback rack from UNARCO. The pallets are almost 8 feet tall and 2,500 pounds each. The pushback carts were provided by Advance Storage Products and the guard rails from Cubic Designs. The Dock Equipment was supplied by Blue Giant.

“The customer is tickled with the end result,” says Anderson. “One of our main focuses was to leave them with something that functions like it’s supposed to function and solves problems for them but also looks very nice. And so we worked hard on the design, on the colors, the architectural type stuff to be able to turn over a facility that is just a beautiful facility and that’s how it turned out. And the customer is very proud of it and has been showing it off. It’s just a very nice looking facility from top to bottom.”

Adds Gilbert, “The word I keep coming back to is relationship. We worked so well together. It was a collaborative effort and very much a team project from the start.” 

Distributor: Applied Handling NW a Division of DACO Corporation

Suppliers: UNARCO, Advance Storage Products, Cubic Designs, Blue Giant

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