Warehousing & Logistics

Vertical Cold Storage Will Start with Operations in Nebraska and Kansas

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Former executives from Cloverleaf Cold Storage, backed by real estate asset manager Platform Ventures, are moving forward with plans to establish a network of state-of-the-art public refrigerated warehouses around North America. Based in North Sioux City, South Dakota, the new company is operating as Vertical Cold Storage.

“We bring a reputation for service and dedication to making our customers’ businesses as strong as possible,” said President and CEO Curt Mastbergen. “We will build on that focus and leverage technology and systems integration to ensure our partners can deliver exactly what they want, when they want and where they want it with optimal efficiency.”

Curt Mastbergen

Vertical Cold Storage is building initial refrigerated warehouses in Nebraska and Kansas, with others to be announced shortly. The company is also pursuing an acquisition strategy in several markets. 

“We will grow with our customers, where and how they need us to grow,” said Mastbergen, who previously logged almost 17 years on the job at Cloverleaf Cold Storage, including more than three years as its president and vice president of operations. Before joining Cloverleaf in 2002, he was president of Farmers and Merchants Bank. Most recently he served as president of Empirical Foods in Dakota Dunes for a year. 

Vertical Cold facilities will offer frozen, refrigerated and dry storage space, blast freezing, export services, case picking, rail trans-loading, simple EDI setup, real time inventory access, standard processes across all locations and value-added reporting capabilities. Automation for the new coldstores is being designed and implemented by an industry leader focused on increasing inventory availability, efficiency and throughput performance.

“We are starting with a clean slate so our facilities will have automation that is the most reliable and productive in the industry, deploy the safest and most cost-effective refrigeration systems and use the latest green best practices. We will also train our teams to drive performance at every level of the supply chain. On the technology side, we will turn data from all parts of the organization into decision-quality information for our customers,” said Ken Smith, senior vice president of Vertical Cold Storage and former vice president of operations for Cloverleaf.

Platform Ventures, the financial backers of Vertical Cold, has a history of making a wide range of real estate investments, from office space and hospitality to residential.

“Cold storage is one of the most exciting sectors in commercial real estate today, and the pandemic has only served to intensify its growth. We were already very interested in the business pre-Covid, but needed the operational experience to create a business model that reduces labor costs through automation and improves performance through decision-making technology. We found that expertise with the Vertical Cold leadership team, and are now on a journey to build a continent-wide network of customer-focused operations,” said Ryan Anderson, co-president and co-founder of Fairway, Kansas-based Platform Ventures.