By Kevin Opsah – HJNews.com
Big business warehouses line the drive along the windy venture of 1700 South in Logan.
So it might never occur to you — unless you managed to spot the small green lettering on a tanned warehouse — that there’s a small “city” of pallets behind one of them.
The wooden pallets are stacked 20, or in some cases 40 high, most of them waiting to be shipped out of the facility. The pallets — sometimes called skids — are flat transport structures that support goods while being lifted by a forklift.
Pallets of Utah, located at 370 W. 1700 South in Logan, manufactures custom wood pallets for clients in the Cache Valley, across the country and internationally.
Whether a company needs only one pallet or thousands, Pallets of Utah creates all of them in-house at a 1.5-acre facility just off Highway 89/91. The company currently serves 175 customers around the globe.
The company’s CEO and President, Mark Thompson, got the business going in late 1981, shortly after graduating from high school.
“I’ve seen and been a part of partnership-type businesses in the past and at some point, it just doesn’t work out,” Thompson said of his decision to start his own business.
His first customer was the Central Mill Flower shop in Logan; then he moved on to bigger companies in the valley — Schieber’s Food and ICON Health and Fitness. Later on, other business in Salt Lake City and Ogden needed help too.
“No one was supplying them (pallets) locally and that’s how I sealed the niche in this market. I knew there was demand, and I wanted to seal that demand,” Thompson said.
Today the company manufactures approximately 15,000 pallets a week, Thompson said, or 3,000 a day.
Of those 15,000, Pallets usually gets international orders for 2,500 a week.
Because Pallets of Utah specifically makes custom pallets, clients that need them usually come up with a drawing or design and Pallets has to meet that drawing, Thompson said. In order to meet all the demand, the company must have approximately 9,000 to 10,000 pallets on hand.
Pallets of Utah will make pallets from recycled wood, depending on the clients needs. Approximately 20 percent of the pallets they make are recycled.
“Some times, if you have grocery store or something, they want a cleaner appearance for display purposes, so we use new wood,” Thompson said. “But most places don’t care so we use used wood.”
The facility that houses Pallets of Utah doesn’t just manufacture pallets — since starting up in 1982, Thompson has expanded his operations to two other businesses: Cast Horn Design, a company that makes decorative items out of castings of real moose, deer and elk antlers and Thompson Long Range, which sells hunting products.
Cast Horn Design sells chandeliers and other household items at a fraction of the price of chandeliers with real antlers, Thompson said.
“If we didn’t think they’d be popular, I wouldn’t have tried it,” Thompson said. “I think people are going to like them.”
The company is looking forward to the release of two products next month.