In yet another addition to downtown Pensacola’s economic boom, residents and businesses along Main Street have a new neighbor in the form of a new 20,000 square foot showroom and state-of-the-art distribution warehouse.
Longstanding Pensacola business Kesco Kitchen Equipment and Supply Co. has had an established presence west of downtown in Warrington for 30 years. Owner Don Theriot says his company’s relocation and expansion of its Pensacola showroom and warehouse facility is the next chapter in continuing his company’s success across the Gulf Coast.
Kesco’s current location on Barrancas Avenue is about 15,000 square feet. The new location, near the Main Street-Barrancas intersection, is 20,000 square feet. Kesco supplies many Gulf Coast schools, hospitals, and restaurants with kitchen supplies and equipment, including all locations of the rapidly expanding Shrimp Basket and The Ruby Slipper.
A few years ago, Theriot was notified by the Florida Department of Transportation that his Warrington showroom would be impacted by improvements being made to the intersection of Barrancas Avenue and Navy Boulevard. Because the FDOT project would force the removal of much of the parking at the facility, he was forced to find a new location.
“With Barrancas being widened, FDOT decided they needed to acquire my parking lot,” Theriot said. “With the widening of the road, we found out we would not have enough parking for our showroom.”
Theriot decided he wanted to build off the success of his company’s presence in Warrington and remain close by, choosing to relocate and rebuild at the former site of Spearman Brewing Company along the long-since vacated St. Louis-San Francisco or “Frisco” Railroad.
“We were very pleased to get this site,” Theriot said. “We are a commercial food service dealer. We could have relocated anywhere. We didn’t have to be downtown, but we do some heavy retail business and we want to be closer to our customers and new business opportunities in downtown Pensacola.”
The new facility broke ground last summer at 1600 West Main Street and Theriot says they’ve just received their certificate of occupancy and hopes to be open by the end of the month.
“The warehouse is about 60 percent of the building and the office and showroom make up about 40 percent,” Theriot said. “This includes a demonstration kitchen that we’ll be using to invite locals chefs to come in and actually test the kitchen.”
Theriot chose Pensacola-based Quina Grundhoefer Architects as the architect for the new one-story building and Vision Construction as general contractor. Together, they chose a design that would reflect the architectural character of downtown’s history as an industrial hub in the region. The building features a brick facade with a modern floor-to-ceiling glass storefront with exposed steel beams manufactured by Bell Steel Company, whose headquarters facility is also on Main Street.
“We really wanted to show off the historic character of Pensacola with the brick and industrial accents on the building,” said Theriot. “We even put the entrance to the building right off Main Street purposely to allow people to walk right off the street into our showroom.”
The City of Pensacola is scheduled to resurface and pave I Street, which is adjacent to the new building later this month. The street remains among the last to be paved in the historic downtown area.
Theriot has also constructed new sidewalks to allow for greater pedestrian and cyclist accessibility on Main Street, which currently lacks any sidewalks west of Joe Patti’s Seafood Market. Theriot also said with his new building serving as the defacto western gateway to downtown Pensacola, he hopes the city will soon move forward with plans to extend the Main Street road rehabilitation project west of the Community Maritime Park to Barrancas Avenue.
“We have been in Pensacola since 1986 — that’s 30 years we’re real proud of,” Theriot said. “We’ve had tremendous success in Warrington — so much so that we’ve branched out to three other locations in Northwest Florida. Pensacola has always been the mothership for us and we’re proud to be here.”