Steinhafels to create 650 jobs in next few years
City of Pewaukee facility to get 107,000-square-foot expansion

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

July 28, 2015

 Steinhafels’ City of Pewaukee headquarters and superstore.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

CITY OF PEWAUKEE — Steinhafels announced Friday it plans to add 100,000 square feet of warehouse space to its main distribution center in the City of Pewaukee and hire about 650 employees during the next several years.

The expansion is a two-phase process to occur during several years that will result in the addition of 16 more dock doors and an expanded trailer staging area at W231-N1013 Highway F. According to the announcement, the increasing demand for quality furniture and a recovering economy have resulted in a shortage of space at the main warehouse in the City of Pewaukee.
“We are on a great growth curve right now."
-President Gary Steinhafel

Phase one of the expansion will include more than 107,000 square feet of new warehouse space and should conservatively increase employment by 300 people, upping the total to 1,022 employees. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held Wednesday and construction is anticipated to be finished by late August or early September of 2016.

President Gary Steinhafel said phase one should be able to accommodate the company’s growth for the next three to five years. Then, he anticipates there being a need for a second phase that would include the addition of about 130,000 square feet and the hiring of approximately 350 more people.

The 650 new employees expected to be hired would be for warehouse work, as well as at Steinhafels different store locations.

During the recession, Steinhafel said the company was still able to maintain small growth and from 2008 to 2014, it grew by 274 employees. It was a stressful time for employees and the family owners, but Steinhafel said they made it through and since then have watched sales more than double.

The plan announced Friday for two phases of growth is part of long-term planning Steinhafels has done, he said. The furniture store is also in the process of redeveloping its store in Greenfield and opened stores in the past year in Appleton and Oak Creek.

“We are on a great growth curve right now,” he said.

The biggest challenge, Steinhafel said, is finding qualified applicants for open positions, which they are listing frequently.

When Waukesha County Chairman Paul Decker heard the news Friday, he said he was pleased with Steinhafels commitment to grow in Waukesha County. He also said the positions the expansion should create will likely serve as great entry-level jobs that will help the area workforce develop more skills.

There will also be some benefits to solving some transportation issues with so many new employees working right off of Interstate 94, he said.

“Our economy is definitely expanding, but there is a wide variety of jobs needed,” Decker said.

He said he hopes to work with Steinhafels to encourage the advancement of its workers’ skills in order to help fill the job pipeline in Waukesha County.

By deciding to invest more money into its City of Pewaukee facility, Decker said Steinhafels is showing it “sees continued growth in the economy, housing and other economic indicators in the area.”

The building expansion and hiring increases will also allow Steinhafels to fulfill its company goals.

“We hold the customer experience as the most important goal of ours,” Steinhafel said.

Gary Steinhafel owns the business with brother, Mark, chief operating officer, and sister, Ellen Steinhafel-Lappe, chief financial officer.