LSEDC Investors Team Up on “Cool” Project

Gail BryantNew Development

Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council investors A.L. Huber General Contractor and Alpha Omega Geotech are joining forces on a 26,000 square-foot expansion at County Beverage Company on Bailey Road in Lee’s Summit.

County Beverage Company distributes products for Anheuser Busch, Corona, KC Bier Co., New Belgium, Deschutes, O’Fallon Brewery, and Abita Brewing. It also has several non-alcoholic beverages including Biosteel and Celsius energy drinks. Its territory stretches eastern Jackson County, including both Arrowhead and Kauffman stadiums. It is owned by two local families, the Pizzichinos and the Whites, who purchased County Beverage Company in 1970. At the time, the company was located in Raytown. In 1998, the owners moved County Beverage Company to Lee’s Summit. President Mike Pizzichino said the move put the company near dead-center of its territory.

“We like doing business in Lee’s Summit and obviously, we’ve seen a lot of growth,” said Pizzichino.

Since its move in 1998, the company has made six additions to its facilities and in September of 2019, it was apparent they would need more space due to an increase in new products from the brands that County Beverage Company carries. According to Pizzichino, County Beverage Company now sees an average of 30 new products a month, which means they needed a bigger cooler.

Pizzichino reached out to Vice President of A.L. Huber, Keith Dorrian, who attended Archbishop O’ Hara High School with him. When his former classmate contacted him about a project in Lee’s Summit, Dorrian was quick to jump on board.

“I’m a resident of Lee’s Summit. I’m always excited when we get the opportunity to build projects for local businesses in my community,” said Dorrian.

Like many projects, there was an interruption with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the team was able to resume the design and pre-construction phase in May of 2020.

By September of 2020, construction had begun. Once complete, the expansion will include 15,000 square feet of cooler space, 11,000 square feet of warehouse and storage space, as well as eight new loading docks. Dorrian said A.L. Huber’s experience with cold storage for other beverage wholesalers in the area helped his team streamline the process and get to the building process sooner. Managing a construction team during a global pandemic, though, was not as easy.

“We had to constantly update our safety protocol guidelines to align with the updates that we were receiving from the CDC and OSHA to keep our field crew safe,” said Dorrian.

Pizzichino agreed, adding that the pandemic shifted volume that typically went to bars and restaurants to take-home products.

“I’ve been working here 25 years and it’s been by far one of the hardest years. Everything is just harder,” said Pizzichino.

The pandemic also affected the supply chain, slowing down some of the supply procurement for construction. But Dorrian said so far, the company has not experienced any delays that were severe enough to affect its timeline.

“We’ve been fortunate,” said Dorrian.

Prior to construction, A.L. Huber contracted with Alpha and Omega Geotech to conduct a soil investigation and geotech report. It is now working with the team to provide material testing.

“We’ve partnered together on many successful projects,” said Dorrian said of Alpha Omega. “They’re a great partner and always provide great service to the project team and our mutual clients.”

Dorrian also worked closely with the City of Lee’s Summit’s development services department. He said his project manager, Mike Weisenborn, and plans examiner, Joe Frogge, were always responsive and attentive when he needed them whether it be during the permit process or construction.

“They’re very pro-development in Lee’s Summit and I think that starts at the top. You definitely feel that when you walk into their office,” Dorrian said. “Just a great experience all the way around.”

As for Pizzichino, he said he has been impressed with the work conducted by both A.L. Huber and Alpha Omega Geotech.

“They do a nice job, really good communication, so I’d highly recommend both companies,” said Pizzichino.

The expansion is expected to be complete in April.