Sitting on the outskirts of historic Bridgeton, NJ, GROWMARK FS, LLC is everything but old. The company broke ground at the location in September 2005 and opened its doors to the community in March 2006. Since plans for the location were developed, the goal has been improved security and environmental stewardship.
“We built this facility for safety,” says Bill Volkmar, crop sales specialist. “Both of our other locations were outdated and did not have rail facilities, proper drainage, or adequate storage. We needed to make the updates for our neighbors, for the township, and for GROWMARK.”
According to Volkmar and Rick Hatz, office and warehouse manager, the company took into account all of its challenges, along with the most up-to-date environmental safety and security regulations, in the design of the new property.
The new location was chosen specifically for its rail access and the fact it is 100% self-contained, with few immediate neighbors. The company had problems with adequate drainage at the old facility, so it incorporated standard concrete drains and loading pads into the design. All products are blended inside and then loaded on a covered and diked concrete pad. Rubber mats and a drain on the railroad tracks ensure nothing spills on the ground during the unloading of railcars.
“All of our load-out areas are self-contained in order to comply with EPA regulations, aid in clean-up in case of a spill, and avoid any contamination of our underground water supply,” says Hatz.
Points Of Uniqueness
Throughout the building process, GROWMARK decided to incorporate some unique elements into its stewardship plans as well. The company installed a tank alarm that connects to all of its bulk liquid tanks. When the tanks are being refilled and get to a certain level, the alarm goes off and the tanks automatically shut down, to avoid overfilling and accidental spills. Finally, last fall, GROWMARK spent thousands of dollars to build an insulated room in its warehouse. This room houses all the company’s packaged materials, keeping them warm and dry during the winter — and away from the water and moisture that used to be a problem.
With a brand new operation and the most updated safety tools at their fingertips, the team at GROWMARK is proud of their new place — and it shows in their attitude and their commitment.
Serving more than 450 customers and approximately 300,000 acres in southern New Jersey, GROWMARK employees “Think Safety First” in everything it does. Each employee goes through a mandatory set of safety tests throughout the year, up to 10 total tests on a variety of topics and techniques. Each team member works on safety procedures in his or her area of expertise and all work together to meet the changing needs of the farmers they serve.
When the new facility was built, the staff placed a dedication stone at the front of the office that reads: “Dedicated to the farmers of South Jersey.” And with the new location, updated stewardship tools and techniques, and an environmentally friendly attitude, the growers of South Jersey are dedicated to them as well.
“Our business is doing well,” says Volkmar. “We’re already making plans to expand next year. Our customers are impressed with what we’ve done here and it’s starting to show.”
“We have made great strides by building this new facility,” adds Hatz. “With the importance we have placed on the environment, we believe we can achieve great things.”