Turner Jones, the President of Dothan Warehouse, is a visionary leader who has strategically steered the family business into a tenfold growth in revenue and profit since 2010. With a finance degree from Auburn University and a 10-year strategic plan developed with his father during his senior year of college, Turner has transformed the company into a powerhouse in food distribution and a pioneer in Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) refrigerated space.
A Legacy of Innovation
Founded in 1980 by Turner's grandfather and partners as a real estate venture, Dothan Warehouse has evolved significantly over the decades. Turner joined the family business in 2010 with the aim of executing a strategic plan that would expand the company's horizons. By 2012, they had broken into the food distribution market, building a 180,000 sq. ft. cold storage facility for peanuts - leveraging Dothan, Alabama's reputation as the "Peanut Capital of the World."
Overcoming Challenges and Harnessing Opportunities
The road to success was not without challenges. Turner's primary obstacle has been to showcase Dothan, AL, as an ideal location for a distribution center. Initially faced with 500,000 sq. ft. of empty warehouse space, the decision to convert it into cold storage was logical and timely. This move not only utilized the vacant space but also carved a niche for Dothan Warehouse in the food-grade warehousing sector.
Exponential Growth and DTC Expansion
Dothan Warehouse's expansion into the refrigerated and frozen warehousing space has been a key strategy, involving an investment of about $45 million in 300,000 sq. ft. of space. With the introduction of DTC refrigerated services in January 2023, the company quickly reached a remarkable 5,000 orders per day shipped, with aspirations to triple that number.
Standing Apart in a Competitive Industry
What sets Dothan Warehouse apart is its unique offering of Ambient, refrigerated, and frozen distribution - a rare combination in the industry. This, coupled with a BRC food grade certification for all 1.3 million sq. ft. of their space and consistently high AA audit scores, highlights the company's commitment to quality and safety.
Adapting to Market Trends and Technological Advances
Turner has observed that many third-party logistics providers (3PLs) are venturing into the DTC space, though not all are prepared for the inherent challenges. Embracing technology, Dothan Warehouse employs Camelot 3PL Software for their Warehouse Management System (WMS), Slack for daily communication, and Power BI for tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These tools have been instrumental in adapting to the evolving market.
Leadership and Work-Life Balance
Reflecting on his most memorable moment, Turner recalls hitting the 7,000 orders per day milestone during their first Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) sale, a testament to his team's efficiency and dedication. His leadership philosophy centers on empowering his team and fostering an environment of excellence.
Balancing a demanding business with family life, Turner prioritizes being present for his children, sometimes requiring him to step away from the constant stream of work communications.
Influences and Future Aspirations
Turner cites "With Winning in Mind" by Larry Bassham as the most influential book he's read. Looking ahead, he is excited about the prospect of constructing another refrigerated warehouse for DTC, indicating a promising future for Dothan Warehouse in 2024 and beyond.