This Grapevine Business is Part of Your Everyday Life... You Just Don't Know it Yet

This Grapevine Business is Part of Your Everyday Life... You Just Don't Know it Yet Main Photo

3 Apr 2024


When you think of Grapevine’s most successful businesses, specific images leap to mind. Immaculate resorts, enticing restaurants, and exhilarating entertainment abound here at the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. But some of the City’s most prolific economic contributors are tougher to spot. They do their work behind the scenes, without fanfare or visitors. But they’re an important piece of the ecosystem, regardless.

The logistics and warehouse sector is strong in Grapevine, even though there isn’t much physical space reserved for those uses. The City’s strategic positioning makes it easy to serve markets across DFW – and all over the US – from one central place, so a well-positioned company will thrive here. And as the metroplex grows, the need for services and equipment within the sector grows with it. 

Strategically, Grapevine is built for visitors; offering citizens a reduced property tax burden by generating a high portion of its financial strength from sales and hotel occupancy tax. That’s an approach that took off when DFW International Airport arrived in the 1970s. Most of the communities nearest the airport – which ranks among the world’s busiest today – leaned into the logistics boom that came with it. Warehouses sprouted in every surrounding community, and companies like Elite Material Handling saw a unique opportunity for growth.

More importantly, because of their direct sales component, they were a perfect fit for Grapevine: holding a place in the top fifty Sales Tax Revenue producers and grotwing so fast that they’re in the middle of a new hiring blitz.

Sales and Service: A Niche Made for Grapevine

According to CoStar, Grapevine accounts for only 15% of industrial square footage in the four cities that host DFW Airport, well behind Irving (48% of inventory) and Coppell (34% of inventory) in that category. That’s by design; the City’s overall strategic plan and land use map prioritizes industries like hospitality and retail in order to maximum sales tax revenue. As a result, there’s a limited amount of room for logistics and warehouse users to operate here without leasing directly from the airport. But Jason McKeever, Vice President of Elite Material Handling, is quick to point out that the industry is deeply intertwined with everyday life in the US.

“Everything you’ve ever touched or bought has gone through a warehouse. It’s the heartbeat of the world, really,” he said. “Pieces of cars, food, you name it; it’s been lifted by a forklift, moved to a truck, delivered to a warehouse, unloaded and distributed to stores. We touch a lot of different brands, products, and commodities.”

That’s the secret to Elite’s success. They provide support services and equipment for warehouse operators, making themselves an essential resource for, in McKeever’s words, “everything in a warehouse other than the product itself.” The list of goods and services on offer is extensive, ranging from door and dock installation to equipment servicing. Think of them as a car dealership, but with forklifts instead of four-cylinders.

You’ll find new and used equipment for sale, lease, or rent alongside service options and custom installations that improve efficiency for any warehouse. At the moment, Elite employs 84 technicians dispatched across the metroplex to serve clients. They even use a specialized dispatch and data center to reduce wait times for service.

“We like to say that we’re the Jimmy John’s of the forklift and service industry,” McKeever said. “We like to be there within two hours of a service call, and we’re pretty good at that. If our customers have an issue, they typically ask for help and we say ‘absolutely, no question.’ We err on the side of the customer. We want the customer to win and feel like they got value out of our service. We’re probably the best service company with the lowest rate in the DFW market. Overall, you’ll spend less with us than you will with any of our competitors here in the metroplex.”

In a market that can’t stop launching new warehouse inventory to stay ahead of the demand curve, those services are essential.

A Magical City in the Perfect Metroplex

The State of Texas is famous for its business-friendly environment, with few regions drawing more attention than North Texas. New companies move here all the time, and the resulting boom in both jobs and population means an equally dynamic need for warehouse space. That natural demand drives development by itself, but seems to be gaining momentum in recent years as national brands realize the value of a centralized shipping hub. Leadership at Elite Material Handling saw that coming.

“The owners, who started this company from the grassroots, [lived] here. They saw an opportunity 25 years ago and decided to go with it,” McKeever said. “Now, DFW is growing fast – it’s one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States – and people have figured out that DFW is centrally located to everything in the United States. It used to be East Coast and West Coast. Now, everybody sees Dallas-Fort Worth at the center of everything. It’s got the number three busiest airport in the world, so there’s no problem getting in and out. People are getting tax reductions to move here.”

“Their freight costs are cheaper going [from here] to the East Coast and the West Coast, rather than shipping from Atlanta all the way to LA. That’s a mean freight bill. Here, it’s half that price going both ways, so it saves you a lot of money.”

The company set up shop at the dawn of a new millennium, when eCommerce and online order fulfillment were much less prolific than they are now. Even then, nationwide shipping channels depended on warehousing to ensure ready inventory and on-time deliver of materials. The industry was a good one to bet on, but having the right home base mattered just as much as offering the right products and services. Originally, Elite operated out of another nearby suburb here in DFW.

“We moved here ten years ago, and that first year we grew seventy percent. We couldn’t hardly keep up because we were growing so fast!” said McKeever. “We’ve grown every year for the ten years that we’ve been here. Even in 2020, we had a small amount of growth. And if we weren’t out of whack for about thirty days, we probably would have grown even more. We’ve done really, really good here and I guess it’s just because of the growth of DFW and the Grapevine area.”

 “Everything looks bright for the growth of this company. We couldn’t be positioned in a better place: we’re in the right City, we’re centrally located, next to the warehouse districts and by the airport. It all works perfectly together… I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’ve always been a big fan of Grapevine. This City has had it going on for years and years and years, even when I was a little kid. It’s a magical little City when you’re a kid going down Main Street. We’re a good company in a good City, and you can’t do much more than that.”

To learn more about the magic of Grapevine, reach out to Economic Development staff or explore economic and demographic data at choosegrapevinetx.com. You can also learn more about the City by subscribing to our monthly newsletter and listening to the ‘Growing Grapevine’ podcast online or with the app of your choice. For more on Elite Material Handling, including available jobs, visit elitemh.com