More than 200 guests attended last month's grand opening event for Simpson Strong-Tie's new manufacturing facility in Eagan, Minn. The new 56,000-square-foot distribution plant and training center was built to better serve customers in the upper Midwest.

The Eagan warehouse stocks inventory to fill orders for Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. In the past, orders from these areas would have shipped from the Simpson plant in Columbus, Ohio. Curt Johnson, Simpson's senior territory manager for the Minneapolis area, explained that until now, his customers expected to receive shipments in five to eight business days. "We can turn the same orders around in Eagan in just three days, cutting our lead time in half," he said.

According to Johnson, customers in this area also have been taking advantage of Eagan's 8,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, which makes custom parts. "With the large number of construction projects in this area, it's important that customers have products right in their backyard. We've set up a will-call desk right here in the city, making it even easier and faster for contractors to place and receive orders."

In addition to the warehouse and plant, the new location features a 2,000-square-foot training center, offering educational workshops to specifiers, inspectors, dealers and contractors.