A distribution center Grainger opened in Minooka, Ill., in 2013. | Courtesy of Grainger

Fortune 500 company Grainger plans to invest $273 million on a Louisville distribution center in a move that bolsters the city’s status as a logistics hub.

The company plans to spend $29 million to buy land, $82 million to construct a building, $100 million on electronic processing equipment, $56 million on other equipment and $6 million on other start-up costs, according to filings with the state.

Grainger, based in Chicago, supplies about three million businesses with maintenance, repair and operating products including safety gloves, ladders, motors and janitorial supplies. About a third of its customers come from the heavy manufacturing and commercial industries. Nearly 20 percent of its products deal with safety and security, while another 12 percent support material handling.

Grainger last month reported revenue of $10.1 billion, up 1.6 percent. Net earnings, at $606 million, were down 21 percent.

Jack Mazurak, communications director with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, told Insider that Grainger’s planned investment strengthens the Louisville area’s logistics and distribution industry and provides another good example of companies recognizing the advantages — central location, accessibility, weather — Kentucky provides for that industry.

“It’s a significant investment, for sure,” he said.

The state has approved a tax incentive of $1.5 million on the construction and building costs. Data on employment and wages were not immediately available. The company could not be reached Thursday morning.

Grainger employs more than 25,000 in nearly 670 facilities across the globe. Twenty-four of its 34 distribution centers are in the U.S. It also has such centers in China, Japan, Latin America and Europe. The company said it had a global share of the $560 billion MRO (maintain, repair, operate) market of 6 percent.

Courtesy of Grainger

Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.


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