Dockers Distribution celebration

Friday, July 4, 2008
Tribune photo by Karen Hall From left, Andy Gilbert, president of Genesco's licensed brands; Joe Boyd Liggett, Marshall County mayor; Bobby McDaniel, operations manager; Carl Cooper, mayor of Chapel Hill; David Turrentine, general manager; Ron Aldridge, Duck River Electric Membership Corporation; Mike Wiles, new executive director of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board; and Tommy Whaley, water superintendant, Marshall County public utilities.

Celebrations were in order Wednesday at the Dockers Distribution Center north of Chapel Hill on Hwy 31-A. The Dockers brand of shoes is making record profits this year, and parent company Genesco is happy with the brand and also with the work being done at this warehouse -- the one and only distribution center for Dockers shoes in America. Genesco has spent about $1.5 million on the facility in the last year, repairing the roof, making the frontage more attractive and improving the office space.

The building was only six years old when Bobby McDaniel started work there 46 years ago. He was straight out of school and it's the only job he's ever had. Now he's the operations manager, supervising a workforce of about 50 people. They work eight to 10 hours per day, based on demand, but, as McDaniel says, "The lights don't go off until the job's done." At any one time there are about 600,000 pairs of shoes in the warehouse, and they ship three million pairs a year.

The crew works smoothly. Some are walking around with carts and lists, pulling the boxes of shoes that have been ordered from the crates neatly arranged by style (Dockers has 27 of them this summer) and size. Others are packing and labeling the orders and putting the boxes on a conveyor belt that carries them to the loading area, where they are put on trucks and shipped out.

"We're kind of like a big family down here,' says McDaniel, adding, "We have a lot of combined years of experience." Everyone stopped work and gathered in the break area for short speeches by David Turrentine, the general manager of the facility, and

Andy Gilbert, president of Genesco's licensed brands, before enjoying a lunch catered by Russell's of ...Pick up a copy of today's edition, Friday, July 4, 2008 for entire story.