In West Philadelphia, a new warehouse and office building is helping a local business grow and deepen its roots within the community
SUPRA Office Solutions and EMSCO Scientific Enterprises’ new warehouse is set to open its doors in summer of 2022. A tour of its current 20,000 square foot office space quickly shows visitors just how fast SUPRA and EMSCO are outgrowing their current building. Limited and disjointed supply storage coupled with cramped office space became a growing source of concern as the business closed deals and built new partnerships. The new home, supported by Reinvestment Fund, which will occupy over nine acres, will provide space for the company to not only consolidate its warehouse, loading docks, and offices in one location, but also unlock new opportunities as they look to expand their reach in the biotech field.
SUPRA, which was started in 2011 by four partners who previously worked for a family owned and -operated office products distribution company, acquired EMSCO in 2013, creating new lines of business and ample opportunity for growth. While SUPRA provides office supplies, furniture, and total office solutions, EMSCO specializes in laboratory and research supplies in the medical and pharmaceutical industry. Through EMSCO, they are well positioned to take advantage of the quickly growing genetic medicine and testing research that is concentrated in Philadelphia.
The new home that Reinvestment Fund is helping to finance includes a new office, warehouse, and cryopreservation building in Philadelphia’s West Parkside neighborhood. The facility will also provide storage for cell and tissue samples that are used in gene and cell therapy as well as research. Additionally, as the business serves accounts both locally and nationally, the larger space will enable them to store and ship more office supplies.
The new 70,000 square foot warehouse and office building will also help SUPRA and EMSCO deepen their roots within the community through jobs and internship opportunities, in addition to continuing to help facilitate back to school and food drives–initiatives that are important to their staff. SUPRA aims to increase the number of full-time positions to 65, all at living wages, by 2025 and a total of 80 over the duration of the project.
Thomas, Ismail Shahid, Derrick Suswell, and the late Ken Carter, collectively have a multi-decade history of working in this area. Located in a HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) in West Philadelphia for many years, they formed a partnership to leverage their experience and relationships with larger distributors. As natives of West Philadelphia themselves, Thomas, Shahid, and Suswell want to open doors for young students and jobseekers throughout the neighborhood and beyond. While they went away to college (Thomas to Morgan State University and Suswell and Shahid to Pierce College), each chose to return to West Philadelphia area to become entrepreneurs and pillars of their community.