The basketball court and Bermuda grass workout field can be seen from Interstate 75, just south of a 60,000-square-foot, $17 million building near Alico Road in Lee County. Inside that building, there’s a fitness center with free weights, a stair-climbing machine and a handful of treadmills. There’s a high-ceilinged lobby with fine artwork. There’s a cafeteria, where an in-house chef cooks made-to-order food. The second and third floor of the three-story building each have their own food-prepping areas, with an armada of refrigerators, microwave ovens and even cold-brewed, nitrogen-infused coffee on tap. There are ping-pong and pool tables, and a shaded outdoor balcony.
This isn’t a luxury resort, nor an apartment complex. It’s the new corporate headquarters for Scotlynn Group, a perishable food distribution company.
What began with fewer than 10 employees in 2010 now has 230 employees on site with plenty of room to grow. “We don’t think that far ahead,” says Scotlynn president and founder Ryan Carter. “If you look at the history of our buildings, you’ll note we never have enough parking spaces.” Not anymore. Now, Scotlynn has more than 400 parking spaces—and, finally, more room to grow.
On the Rise
In its first year of operation, Scotlynn managed 1,800 truck shipments. These days, Scotlynn manages 4,000 shipments—per week. “What we did in our first year, we probably do in three or four days now,” Carter says. “We will ship about 150 million pounds of product this year. Unless we can teleport food, we need trucks to transport food.”
Shipping prices surged by 30% from 2020 to 2021, Carter said of a business that just keeps on trucking, regardless of a global pandemic, recession, inflation or otherwise. Whatever the conditions may be, Carter wanted a place for his employees to be happy and to stay for the long term. “It’s good for recruiting,” Carter says of the building’s vastness and extra perks. “But the reason we do it is for them to enjoy the amenities.”
Seagate Development Group managed construction with input from Mallory Stump, an interior designer with the Indianapolis-based Schott Design. “The natural light was a big part of this,” Seagate CEO Matt Price says. Having so many windows meant also needing some shade. Scotlynn opted to spend an additional $200,000 to $300,000 on automatic window shades around the building; they rise and fall depending on the amount of natural light and heat being generated.
“When you walk through the place, there’s light everywhere,” Price says. “Mallory was able to take Ryan’s vision and work with the construction crews. Everything was thought out on the site to make sure everything was maximized. There wasn’t any throwaway space.”
Starting sales associates at Scotlynn make $40,000 out of college. But within a couple of years, their income can surge to the low six figures, Carter said.
Scotlynn has four sales teams that compete against each other, and not just in sales. They have quarterly potluck meals. They do “field day” events that include potato sack races on that adjacent athletic field. They had a Christmas tree decorating contest. And they go by four nicknames: the Jackalopes, the Wolfpack, the Tiger Sharks and the Fightin’ Roosters.
“It’s good, team-building stuff,” says Carter, whose company was tested during the early peaks of the pandemic, because it operates more efficiently working together rather than from home. “Our team works really hard. They deserve a nice place to work—and essentially live.”