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Martin Guitar Opens New Distribution Facility in the Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on October 20, 2021

Martin Guitar has opened a new 200,000 square-foot distribution facility in the Lehigh Valley, which will allow the iconic guitar maker to meet growing market demand for their instruments and accommodate expected future growth for generations to come.

“The new warehouse will allow us to run our operations with greater efficiency and cost savings,” said Chris Martin IV, executive chairman and former CEO of C.F. Martin & Co. “It also gives us the ability to better service our existing and future customers in a timelier manner while lowering our carbon footprint.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Oct. 20 at the new state-of-the-art facility at 130 Commerce Lane in Tatamy. It is located in the Chrin Commerce Centre off Route 33, just a short drive from the company’s headquarters in Upper Nazareth Township.

It is expected that up to 50,000 instruments will be coming out of the facility each year, according to project manager Matt Kennedy. Martin Guitar makes about 150,000 instruments each year, which are used by such artists as Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran, and Sturgill Simpson.

The project will let the company consolidate existing storage and distribution facilities into a new modern, climate-controlled operation, reducing the amount of time needed for moving guitars and wood back and forth between its various sites, officials said.

“This is a really unique facility,” Kennedy said. “There aren’t a lot of organizations that have the needs that we do, which was a driving factor in our decision to build our own facility” rather than purchase an existing building or seek adaptive reuse, Kennedy said.

Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), was among the regional officials and dignitaries acknowledged during the ribbon-cutting event.

Martin Guitar has long benefited from Lehigh Valley’s central location on the East Coast, proximity to markets, and availability of labor. Martin officials have praised Lehigh Valley’s workforce for their strong work ethic and willingness to learn detail-oriented skills.

“This new warehouse project has been a few years in the making, and we’re marking the completion of a milestone in the company’s history, like when we first moved to the Lehigh Valley in 1839,” said Thomas Ripsam, CEO of C.F. Martin & Co.

The company first broke ground on the new facility in March 2020. It will occupy about half of the space, while leasing the remaining half to a third party, according to Nathan Eckhart, CFO of C.F. Martin & Co.

The building was constructed with a focus on sustainability, including a 30-year roof that can accommodate the installation of future solar panels that will offset 100% of the building’s electrical use. The company plans to pursue LEED Silver Certification.

The facility also includes a state-of-the-art HVAC system that maintains a constant temperature of 68 to 75 degrees and a relative humidity of 40% to 46%. This is crucial for the proper storage of Martin’s instruments, even for short periods of time.

The new facility is located near the Route 33 interchange that opened in 2015, a $40 million initiative that left the Chrin Commerce Centre in a position to become a major area of growth for Lehigh Valley.

Since the interchange was established, the Chrin Commerce Centre has welcomed such tenants as Amazon, Fedex Ground, Lulus, Mondelez Global, Porsche, XPO Logistics, and others, creating hundreds of jobs.

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