The City of Schertz Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) confirmed Friday that Santa’s Workshop, Western Hemisphere Division, quietly moved into the community in late March. Since then, the company has been engaged in manufacturing operations in preparation for the 2018 holiday season. Santa’s Workshop is considered to be the best toy manufacturer in the world and has delivered countless presents to children for generations.
Known throughout the site selection community as Project Chimney, the new facility is 100 million square feet in size. The three-story building dwarfs Schertz’ 1.2 million square foot Amazon fulfillment center, which until recently, was the city’s largest contiguous building.
Santa’s Workshop brings thousands of uniquely skilled jobs to the San Antonio region. Employees aren’t alone in their work; highly automated robots, designed and built by Innovation, Technology, and Machinery (ITM), assist throughout the facility with a variety of tasks. Together, this combined laborforce of elf and machine is hard at work, preparing for December 25.
FROM RUMORS TO CONFIRMATION
Rumors had been circulating since August when nearby business Technos [manufacturer of industrial fans] received requests for modified versions of their product for snow-blowing use. “We were surprised to discover the fans were being delivered just down the road,” stated an employee familiar with the purchase.
“It wasn’t until we spoke with Pratt Industries [manufacturer of corrugated boxes and die-cut items] and Berlin Packaging [distributor of customized packaging] that it clicked. They gave us an idea of the volume of orders being filled for that address and we started to piece it together.”
DEVELOPMENT DETAILS EMERGE
Snow-based systems and packaging materials is not all that made the project stand out according to those involved.
Based on discussions with the City of Schertz’ planning, engineering, and permitting departments, the Santa’s Workshop facility is a heavy water user. Schematics show an extensive climate control network within the production area, which maintains a constant fifteen degree working environment. This infrastructure is necessary to accommodate Santa’s proprietary assembly process which, in place of traditional conveyor systems, relies on a series of ice slides. Strategically placed snowdrifts prevent damage to products as they make their way to the wrapping division.
Vestal Steel and Setien & Associates partnered to create the structural steel beams used throughout the facility. Thanks to a specially formulated manufacturing process, the steel protects from extreme cold and is imprinted with candy cane striping. Madera Millwork and Maverick Door & Millwork both contributed to the intricate, all wood management offices that house the operation’s executive staff.
The North Pole site selection team engaged in several development meetings with city staff to get permission to build the combination stable/airstrip necessary for the company’s logistics operations.
“We appreciated how carefully the Claus group examined and met our requirements on the front end. Their willingness to work with us and ask questions made for a much smoother experience as they ramped up for construction,” says Emily Delgado, acting Senior Planner.
Nearby Randolph Air Force Base will not be impacted by the development; the facility’s air traffic activity will not interfere with the base’s flight operations.
A representative authorized to speak on the Claus’ behalf iterated that their decision to locate in Schertz hinged on the community’s location along I-35 and I-10 (with easy access to major domestic and international markets). Schertz’ business community which includes local distribution and logistics partners such as Southeastern Freight Lines, XPO, Ryder Truck Rentals, and FedEx (Ground and Freight) played a major role as well in the location decision.
Schertz is the best fit for our work, offering ample manufacturing and distribution space while also providing a great quality of life for our peopleNorth Pole Site Selection Team
BUSINESS RETENTION & EXPANSION
“Aside from some challenges with illegal reindeer parking in the public right of way, Santa has been an ideal tenant,” states SEDC Business Retention Manager Jennifer Kolbe. “Santa’s Workshop has a firm commitment to the Schertz community and does a lot of good for our residents.” Kolbe added that Santa works well with other local Schertz companies. Santa’s Workshop has contracted with Shook Mobile to update the overall look of The Sleigh, placed multiple orders with Caterpillar for new snowplow engines, and partnered with CalTex Protective Coatings to provide leather sealant for reindeer halters.
In conjunction with the SEDC’s confirmation of Santa’s Workshop’s presence in the community, the company released a separate statement. In it, the Claus’ plan to expand their Schertz footprint over the course of the next five years with the addition of a data center capable of hosting their extensive Naughty Or Nice tracking system. Currently, Capital Group’s processing facility in Schertz addresses the company’s data needs.
Patty Horan, of the SEDC, concluded that Santa’s Workshop operations will bring additional attention to Schertz. Santa’s Workshop also highlights the great opportunities available to manufacturers locating in the city.
Obviously the above story isn’t true – Santa is quite happy where he is. However, be sure to check out our great companies to see all the real items that are made everyday here in Schertz.
The SEDC would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year. We extend a special thank you to the companies and residents who make the City of Schertz such a great place to live and work.
- Santa’s Workshop – Samuel Holt/Unsplash
- Snowdrift Installation – Ken Harris/Washtenaw County Road Commission
- Candy Cane Beams – UK Business Insider
- Climate Control System – Northwest Fire Suppression