INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An Indianapolis-based logistics firm announced an expansion Tuesday that could provide up to 70 new jobs in the next four years to some of Indy's most overlooked neighborhoods.
Merchandise Warehouse, a third generation family owned business located on the near south side, showed off its new state-of-the-art 80,000 sq. ft. freezer facility Tuesday during a ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new technology in the warehouse will allow crews to store and move 14,000 pallets in a space that previously would have only held 8,000 and allow the company to add jobs.
“We work really close to the Edna Martin Christian Center to be able to develop people in this area that need jobs," Merchandise Warehouse Vice President and General Manager Scott Whiting said.
The Edna Martin Christian Center is an agency geared toward providing training and education for people, including felons, looking for jobs in Indianapolis.
Over the past two years, Merchandise Warehouse has trained more than 200 clients of Edna Martin on various skills and about 10 percent of those people were hired full-time at the warehouse including Fred Pace, who previously served 13 years in prison.
“A lot has changed in 13 years," Pace said. "I've been out for two (years), got married, enjoying life so everything is falling in place."
Pace said he found it hard to find work after leaving prison and is grateful for the people at Merchandise Warehouse and the Edna Martin Christian Center.
“People need great opportunities," Pace said. "Don’t just look at what I did in my past as a reflection of the person I am today, because there’s a lot of people coming out of prison who don’t want to go back and just need opportunities.”
“We like to say if they have the right attitude and they show up ready to work, we will work with them," Whiting said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony and complimented the company for investing in Indy's near south side. He said the neighborhood is often overlooked and more jobs coming to the area means safer streets.
"When people are working instead of standing idle they tend to stay out of trouble," Hogsett said.
"It's all about making that change from people having in problems in life, to having found life," Whiting said. "That's important. That's important to me."