The project will support the relocation and expansion of SUPRA, a Philadelphia-based, Black-owned wholesale product distributor and its subsidiary EMSCO. SUPRA was started in 2011 by four partners who previously worked for a family owned and -operated office products distribution company. Having operated in North Philadelphia for many years, they formed a partnership to leverage their experience and relationships with larger distributors. In 2013, SUPRA acquired another local distributor, EMSCO, which specializes in laboratory and research supplies in the medical and pharmaceutical industry.
Both entities are consolidating in this new 70,000 square foot facility that is being developed on a 9.3-acre PIDC-owned site that is currently vacant land. The facility will include a 15-dock shipping and receiving dock as well as 10,000-square-foot bio-repository and cryo-preservation facility. for temperature-controlled storage. The new facility will greatly expand SUPRA’s and EMSCO’s ability to offer cold-storage products for distribution and/or simply storage for local medical and educational users—a line of business that is an important part of their growth strategy. The building is designed to be extensible as they continue to grow.
Philadelphia is a national center for biotech research, both academic and corporate. SUPRA and EMSCO are well positioned to take advantage of current and future strength in that market. There are specific sub-specialties in biotechnology research that are concentrated in Philadelphia, including genetic medicine, where treatments are developed for specific patients based on genetic testing. These modalities require particular kinds of cold-storage, which SUPRA’s new facility is growing capacity to meet.
The project is financed through a $19.5 million New Markets Tax Credit transaction. Reinvestment Fund and PIDC are providing the NMTC allocation and Wells Fargo is the equity investor. Reinvestment Fund financing is also supporting the leverage loan for the transaction, a portion of which is being participated to LISC. The project is located in the West Parkside industrial park, an area where Reinvestment Fund has supported significant investments over the years.
SUPRA and EMSCO are moving to the new facility in part to be able to continue to provide for its employees and to grow its impact in its home community. By staying in the neighborhood, they are committing to their current workforce and will create new employment opportunities where they are most impactful. SUPRA expects to grow to 69 employees by 2025 at the new site, adding 50 new full-time equivalent positions, all at living wages during that time.