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Fabiano Brothers, Inc. Sees Growth Despite Trends

Friday, January 14, 2011 3:33 PM | Anonymous

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"I'm easure, 2010 ns that are dr d corporate h 25-year annive s busine 3, 2011 nterprising yo duous two-we biano, a fathe hetti for men abiano family When a majo ded it was tim ch includes fo ears ago, has generation of Fabiano Sr., ompany grow gins and carry tribution cente roud of our fa men came befo mily to keep th , "You've hea n grows the b en and the ex ce president a ly rare the Fa mily businesse hird to fourth a ion running a sure at least has been a b riving plans fo headquarters, ersary and op ess sees ung family ma eek trek by bo er of eight (six working on th y was living in or earthquake me to seek a b unding a fam s grown into th f Fabianos. Ja the firm's pre th and succes ying on the fa er has avoide mily heritage ore us. We're his business ard the old bu usiness, and xciting develop at Northwoo biano Brothe es survive fro and less than round at hom one of them banner year f or a multimillio located just o pen house ce s growth an from South oat. x girls, two bo he railroad, to n a region bes e rocked their better life in th ily business t he largest win ames Fabiano esident and c ss at Fabiano amily tradition ed the fate of m ," says Josep e the fourth ge thriving." siness adage the third gen pments that p d University rs success st om the second n 1 percent su me driving my will get involv for Fabiano B on dollar expa off US-10 and elebration at it h despite hern Italy freq oys), was mak oiling to earn m set by poor ec native land in he states. that, from hum ne and beer d o II along with hief executive o Brothers, In of vision with most family b ph Fabiano II, eneration of F e. The first ge eration runs i position us for y, offers some tory is. d to third gen urvive from th wife crazy," J ved in the fam rothers. It pur ansion of its a d Mackinaw R ts new state-o e trend quently crissc king his way t money to brin conomic cond n 1905, Genn mble origins a distributorship h his brother J e officer, toda c. Remembe h integrity are businesses: fa partner/owne Fabianos and eneration build it into the gro r further grow e sobering sta neration," he s e fourth to fift James Fabian mily business. rchased three already mass Road in Monit of-the art facil crossed the to St. Louis, ng his family t ditions and narro Fabiano as a fruit and p in Michigan, Joseph Fabia ay are presidi ring the e key reasons ailure. er. "Some ve we have a ds the busine und. We feel wth in the futu atistics that sh says. "Only th th generation no II, smiling, " e companies, ive distributio tor Township. lity attracted a MO. to o, like , is ano II ng s the ry ess. good re." hed hree ." says on . Last about 22,000 people. Even though the company has called Bay City its new home for only about 18 months, "we're already bursting at the seams," says James Fabiano II. "Suppliers want us to grow or get out. They like to see economies of scale." Fabiano Brothers has added to its business portfolio the wine division of Saginaw-based Muehlenbeck Distributing Co.; Mt. Pleasant's Chippewa Beverage, Inc.; and Flint's Tom Ryan Distributing. These moves brought 97 full and part-time jobs to the area. Some of the jobs are new. Others are employees from the acquired companies that Fabiano agreed to take on. The company now services licensed retailers as far east as Lapeer County, west to Mecosta County and north to Charlevoix. The Tom Ryan acquisition means additional business as far south as Genesee County, "a huge county," says James Fabiano II, a partner/owner of the venerable firm. "We're just a small family business doing our part to stimulate the economy," he says, a smile creasing his face. In January, the company plans to break ground on the 100,000 sq. foot expansion project, pointing to May, just prior to its busiest summer months, as its target date for completion. "We need the room," says Joseph Fabiano II. "This is phase II of our building plans here and will allow for company growth in the next 10 years." The two brothers cut their teeth in the family business. They started working before they could drive, recalling a time when the business had a couple of route trucks working out of a small warehouse servicing about four counties. "It was a much smaller operation then," says Joseph Fabiano II. "We've seen about nine cases grow to the point where we now distribute over 9 million boxes of beer and wine a year. On any given day we have up to 50 trucks going over 5,500 square miles delivering about 50,000 cases." When it relocated its operation from Mt. Pleasant to Bay City in 2009, Joseph Fabiano II says, "We always wanted to consolidate into an ideal location. We think we found it here... Within the Anheuser Busch system we're around the 25th largest distributorship in the nation." Easy access to I-75 and US-10 attracted the Fabianos to Bay County. Employees at the site receive, process and ensure delivery of orders in less than 24 hours. That may explain why business is a 24-7 operation except when it closes at noon on Saturday and reopens on Monday at the crack of dawn. "This place is pretty quiet now," James Fabiano II says of the distribution center on a recent weekday morning. "But you should see it on second and third shifts when the trucks are getting loaded for delivery." Fabiano Brothers apparently understand the importance of first impressions. When visitors are allowed access to the spacious main lobby at the entrance to corporate headquarters, they immediately are struck by the marble floors, cherry wood furnishings and the ultra-modern surroundings. "How do you like my bouquet?" asks James Fabiano II, pointing to a bucket containing a variety of Anheuser-Busch products displayed in the center of the lobby. "Seems appropriate for the holidays," replies the visitor. Much of its operation is technology-driven, a far cry from the days of yore, says James Fabiano II. For instance, all delivery trucks are routed using a computerized system. Drivers are equipped with hand-held computers and printers, giving them immediate access to their inventory and stops. A voice-activated system is used to store and distribute the millions of cases of product that goes through the facility each year. "We're probably the most technologically-advanced distribution company in the state," says James Fabiano II. The company may be, as the Fabianos say, a "cash business," but the emphasis on green at corporate headquarters extends beyond monetary considerations. "Everything that goes out comes back in," James Fabiano II says of the company's sustainability efforts. "We consider ourselves a green-friendly company." Retention ponds on the 20-acre site hold water that's used for eco-friendly chillers. Recycled water is used to wash company trucks and cars. Rainwater is captured and run through the sprinkling system on the grounds. The facility has been designed with lots of windows to allow natural light in. White roofs and concrete-insulated walls are other examples of the attention to detail that characterizes the facility's design-build. "We tried to think of everything," James Fabiano II says. When the facility's expansion project is completed next May, the business will have grown to encompass about 300,000 sq. ft. at 1885 Brevanda Court in Bay City. The Fabiano brothers didn't anticipate this kind of explosive growth. "If you would have told me when we moved here that we were soon going to be building an additional 100,000 sq. feet of facility, I'd have said you were crazy," James Fabiano II says. The company employs about 300 people. They work in areas such as operations, sales & marketing, Information technology, graphic design and accounting. The firm's impressive corporate headquarters is an anchor tenant in a burgeoning business park called Market Place Corporate Center. Local leaders hope Fabiano's presence sparks more economic development in that business corridor. Somewhere, Gennaro Fabiano is casting an approving eye on his family successors, confident that the piece of the American Dream he carved out a century or so ago continues to be in fine hands. "We've got to keep it going," James Fabiano II, working on Christmas Eve, says. "Our great-grandfather was a first-class, hard-working gentleman." 

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Lansing, Michigan 48933
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