By Tom Kelley
Late last year, Jamaica, N.Y.-based Bartlett Dairy opened a new distribution facility in Newark, N.J., under its affiliate Bartlett Distribution Services, LLC. The 105,000-square-foot facility serves retail giants including Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, as well as schools, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
Explaining the choice of the Newark location, Bartlett’s president, Tom Malave Jr. said, “If you look at our map and the stores that we serve, it’s centered right here—a perfect fit.”
The new distribution hub in Newark replaces a temporary space in Clifton, N.J. Bartlett is bringing 175 jobs to Newark from the Clifton facility, and expects to add as many as 200 jobs, with priority given to local residents. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility, local officials lauded Bartlett for bringing much-needed business and jobs to Newark’s South Ward area. Speaking at the event, Newark’s media-savvy mayor, Cory Booker, offered a bit of dairy humor, quipping. “Forgive me for ‘milking’ this moment, but this accomplishment is ‘udderly’ incredible.”
Originally founded in 1963 as a one-truck home-delivery and retail milk distributor, Bartlett Dairy still prides itself on delivering the freshest milk in town, yet its business has grown far beyond Queens and far beyond milk products. The new distribution facility supports Bartlett’s unique business model. In addition to providing customers with the traditional range of dairy and dairy-related products, the company also provides major clients like Starbucks with turn-key provisioning services, by warehousing and delivering virtually everything used in each of the retailer’s locations.
Safety is a key focus. “We have a very good group of employees, and that includes all departments. Every employee at Bartlett has a role in the safety program, and that includes warehouse and office workers as well as truck drivers,” says Ken Malave. “They receive excellent training through the safety department. We provide our drivers with what we consider to be some of the safest vehicles on the road. With all of these factors combined, we have built what we believe is the best safety program in the area.”
According to Randy Rosenthal, Bartlett’s director of Fleet Safety, Bartlett also sets its tractor engines for a 60 mph maximum speed. “We think lower speed is one of the best ways to prevent accidents,” Rosenthal says. “This has been a phenomenal tool in our accident prevention effort. We never stop searching for ways to make our operation safer.”
Bartlett looks for drivers with at least two years of driving experience, specifically in tractor-trailer operations for those working the Starbucks routes. No more than two moving violations or one accident in the past three years are allowed. Bartlett requires a CDL, written test, safety test, road test, drug test, background check and a physical.
With its strong reputation, Bartlett has had no difficulty attracting drivers. It also has been very successful at retaining them. “We work hard to make this an operation they can be proud of,” says Ken. “When people come on board, they stay on board.”