Bartlett has many assets to claim, yet one of its greatest, and often most overlooked, is the area zoned for light industry. This stretch, coined Bartlett Corporate Park, is a jewel within suburban Shelby County.
Encompassing approximately 600 acres of land, BCP is home to nearly 200 businesses that employ in excess of 6,000 taxpayers. These companies represent a healthy diversity of establishments that span a wide range of markets and serve as primary economic engines by pumping dollars into the local economy. Bartlett can take pride in the fact that many of the park’s tenants are homegrown enterprises that have evolved into multi-million dollar operations.
A brief flyover reveals an eclectic assortment of companies, including:
- One of the few places in the country that press LP albums
- A world leader in the manufacturing of ear, nose and throat medical products
- The world’s largest producer of 3D disposable glasses
- One of the nation’s largest distributors of generic drugs for privately owned pharmacies
- A worldwide wholesaler of commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) parts and supplies
If that weren’t enough, another major distinction of this grouping is a heavy concentration of orthopedic medical device manufacturing companies, making it the epicenter of medical device manufacturing in Shelby County.
The local medical device industry is a story within itself, and its history — both in Bartlett and throughout Shelby County — is a classic case study of how one company spawned an entire industry. Today there are 10 medical device companies that call BCP home, each with their own unique products and services. Recently, Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) has rolled out plans to build an advanced manufacturing training facility in Bartlett, which only strengthens and makes this distinction even more viable for future growth.
If you haven’t driven through Bartlett Corporate Park recently, you might be surprised at all of the new developments taking shape. Within the past six months several new projects have broken ground, and more are in the pipeline.
Certainly the most recognized capital investment is the expansion of the Olympus facility. This is the largest project in Bartlett in more than a decade with 125,000 square feet of new industrial space. Ironically, this new space is an addition to the original facility, built in 1986, as the E.N.T. Division of Richards Medical and has become the area’s 30-year anchor tenant. Its latest $12 million investment will give the property an entirely new look and will also bring a new product line to Bartlett. Olympus-Bartlett will not only remain one of the world’s leading ENT manufacturing centers, but it will also become a leader in the servicing of endoscopic devices. The nearly 300 jobs created from this project will have a substantial impact on local retail and housing markets as well.
Just a stone’s throw away from Olympus is Brimhall’s brand-new 80,000 square-foot expansion. Just two years ago the company (a world’s favorite maker of pork skins) made a substantial investment in their manufacturing operation. With an ever-expanding market creating a need for more warehouse space, Terry Brimhall and partner Michael Patrick decided to take advantage of five acres of land next door to their existing facility by consolidating their distribution under one roof.
On the east side of the BCP, behind Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett, are three other projects that are in various degrees of development. One nearing completion is Precision Crystal Gifts & Awards on Stage Hills Road. Precision is a relocation of an existing Bartlett company, which has continued to grow by providing a quality product matched with excellent customer service. Their current space is bursting at the seams, and this new facility will provide some much-needed breathing room.
Next door is the newest member, Resource Label Group, a manufacturer of private labels for commercial products. This too is a relocation/expansion. Bartlett will become the company’s new home, and this new facility will allow them to double existing capacity and staffing.
To the west is a healthcare-related project that will greatly compliment the important work being performed at Saint Francis Hospital-Bartlett on a daily basis. Tabor Orthopedics is building a 20,000-square-foot facility where they will occupy one portion of the building, and a same-day surgical facility will inhabit the balance.
The park’s east annex — the property to the east and west of New Brunswick Road just north of US 64 — has experienced a lot of activity in recent years, and both sides still have some room to grow. That said, BCP is not yet finished. In fact, it has a ways to go. Currently, there are approximately 200 acres of land adjacent to BCP that can accommodate light industrial and commercial projects. This area could easily satisfy Shelby County’s industrial needs for another decade or more. And if a “big one” came our way, Bartlett has ample space in reserve to meet almost any demand.
As Tennessee’s 10th largest city, Bartlett is an important economic asset for the Greater Memphis Area. In fact, the BCP’s contribution to the economy is well recognized by economic development officials both on the state and regional levels. Bartlett should be proud of its many businesses and entrepreneurs who have built a strong industrial environment in our own front yard and whose presence continues to attract other world-class companies.
Written by John Threadgill, president of the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the chamber, go online to bartlettchamber.org.