Idaho-based company Melaleuca to bring more jobs to Knoxville

Melaleuca Newsroom text above global headquarters

Knoxville Business Journal | By Ed Marcum |

Melaleuca Inc. is building a 231,000-square-foot distribution center that will expand its facility in Forks of the River Industrial Park. Melaleuca, based inIdaho, makes nutritional supplements and other products.

Melaleuca Inc., an Idaho-based maker of nutritional supplements, cleaning supplies and other products, is building a 231,000-square-foot distribution center that will nearly double the size of its facility in Forks of the River Industrial Park and bring jobs to Knox County.

Company officials, members of the Knoxville Chamber, Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and others will be on hand for an 11 a.m. groundbreaking today at the Melaleuca's5301 National Drivefacility.

"Due to the rapid growth of the company, Melaleuca has invested over $111 million in infrastructure over the last several months, with $22 million right here," Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said in a prepared statement referring to the Knoxvilleexpansion.

"Knoxville has been a great partner to us and we look forward to servicing our customers worldwide with this awesome distribution center," he said.

The facility, which already is under construction, will have five incoming and 11 outgoing docks, with the ability to add more loading docks later, according to a Knoxville Chamber press release. Blaine Construction, of Knoxville, is the contractor on the project, which is estimated to be completed in August 2010.

Teri Williams, who will manage the Melaleuca facility, could not be reached for comment, but Doug Lawyer, director of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber, said the expansion will allow the company to greatly increase production.

"In their existing building, they are doing both manufacturing and distribution," he said. "Once they get this new distribution facility complete, that will open up floor space for new product manufacturing lines," he said.

Lawyer said the company now employs about 400 workers, but he did not know how many jobs the expansion could add toKnoxCounty's economy.

"It all depends on when the economy turns around," he said. "We are confident there will be new jobs coming to Melaleuca; we just don't have a good sense for how many at this time."

The project will create some jobs right away as Melaleuca estimates that building the distribution center will provide work for several hundred subcontractors and other local workers.

Melaleuca entered the Knoxville area in 1992 when it opened a 170,000-square-foot facility at Forks of the River Industrial Park to serve as its East Coast manufacturing and distribution center. Based inIdaho Falls, the company makes a range of about 350 household, nutritional, pharmaceutical and personal care products meant to be safer, more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly than products typically found in grocery stores. It sells these through direct marketing channels to its "marketing executives." The entrepreneurs sign up customers and receive bonuses on products those customers buy.

According to the News Sentinel Book of Lists, Melaleuca, a privately owned company, had total sales of $859 million in 2007.

The company Web site is at

Business writer Ed Marcum may be reached at 865-342-6267.

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