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February 11. 2013 9:53PM

New liquor warehouse to be ready in Bow in September

BOW - A new warehouse being built on state Route 30A to serve the 78 New Hampshire State Liquor Stores is expected to be completed by mid-September, the company which won the lucrative contract said Monday.

Exel, Inc., an Ohio-based, Massachusetts-chartered subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, a German warehousing and logistics firm, was awarded the contract last year by the State Liquor Commission. The second- and third-place finishers in the competitive bidding process are fighting to overturn the award of a 20-year contract which would run until 2033.

Scott Lyons, director of business development for Exel, said the company did not use any lobbyists during the bidding process and did not become involved in attempting to influence the drafting of the state's formal request for bids on the warehouse contract. Exel last week hired Joel Maiola of the lobbying arm of the McLane, Graf, Raulerson & Middleton law firm to represent the company in governmental relations in New Hampshire.

"There is going to be an outreach effort to make sure that the Legislature and elected officials in New Hampshire, as well as the community at large, know what Exel is doing and the positive nature of the company," Maiola said.

One of the competitors for the warehousing contract, Law Warehouses of Nashua, lost a Superior Court bid to force the liquor commission to disclose previously redacted documents provided by Exel in the bidding process. Law executives have vowed to try to have the contract thrown out in court.

Law was the third-place finisher in the rankings developed by the liquor commission. The runner-up for the contract, XTL-NH, is also appealing the contract award, but is pursuing administrative remedies with the liquor commission.

Exel executives expect about 85 people to be hired to staff the warehouse. Lyons said the company projects that its operations will save $7 million over the first 30 months of the contract through advances in warehousing and handling merchandise.

"Inside the four walls ,things are very complex." Lyons said.

"The investment in the town of Bow will be $20 million to build the building, (install racks) and put in all the equipment."

The company typically builds its warehouses, sells the physical property to investors such as pension groups and then leases the property back.

Lyons said the company also encourages employees to volunteer for local organizations and provides financial support to some groups.

Exel provides warehousing and logistics services to a variety of companies, including Proctor and Gamble and Walmart and several liquor distributions entities, including the province-controlled liquor wholesaling operation in Alberta, Canada.

Bow Town Manager David Stack said the decision by Exel to locate in the town is important because the tax revenues will help the payback for a $12 million water system the town voted to install several years ago. He also sees Exel's decision as a good advertisement for the corner of Bow that town leaders want to develop with more industry to help improve the municipal tax base.

"We tout ourselves that we have good access good highways, but it's good to have a company come in and say 'yeah, you do,' " Stack said.

billsmith@unionleader.com

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