Atomix Logistics thrives on e-commerce biz on city's near west side

In a massive old warehouse on Milwaukee's near west side, Atomix Logistics handles the shipping needs of e-commerce businesses from around the world.

The startup company on West Michigan Street fulfills orders of jewelry, clothing, sporting goods, barbecue sauce, and much more.

Online businesses send Atomix their orders, and the company takes care of the shipping from its 30,000 square foot facility that's part of a much larger building near Marquette University.

Atomix has e-commerce business clients in Australia, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, China, and across North America. It ships tens of thousands of orders for them through the US Postal Service, FedEx, UPS, and other carriers.

Atomix, like an Amazon fulfillment center but much smaller, works with independently owned businesses created on e-commerce sites such as Shopify. In addition to packing and shipping their orders, it does inventory management.

Atomix owner Austin Kreinz began the year with only two full-time employees but now has more than 20 full-time and part-time combined. He's planning additional hiring this fall as the holiday shopping season gets underway.

Part of a busy nonprofit

The company is a member of Near West Side Partners, a nonprofit that seeks to fill empty storefronts and encourage businesses on the city's near west side.

"The biggest thing we can offer the community right now is jobs. We're not that large, but it's what we can do to help make the community stronger," Kreinz said.

Originally from Delafield, he spent part of high school at Portsmouth Abbey, a boarding school in Rhode Island, so he could pursue his passion for lacrosse. At Portsmouth, he was captain of the lacrosse, ice hockey and football teams.

At University of Pennsylvania, Kreinz was captain of the men's lacrosse team.

"He's a heart and soul guy. He's tough as hell, and he'd do anything for you," coach Mike Murphy was quoted as saying about Kreinz in The Daily Pennsylvanian college newspaper.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in history of economics in 2017, Kreinz moved to New York where he was a finance analyst for the consumer retail sector for three years. Then he spent a year with State and Liberty Clothing Co., in New York, before moving back to Wisconsin to launch Atomix.

"I've always had a fascination with entrepreneurship," Kreinz said, and his father had a shipping and logistics business.

Micro-pods use specific employees

One thing unique about Atomix is its micro-pod system that assigns clients specific employees to handle their shipping needs and inventory management.

"We have someone dedicated to their products who knows them inside and out," Kreinz said, and questions can be answered in minutes.

The company developed its own logistics software aimed at clients who don't want to spend a lot of time on the nuances of shipping and inventory management. "We didn't want to overcomplicate it because they already have enough on their plate growing their business," Kreinz said.

Atomix clients include Wigwam Mills, a socks company based in Sheboygan; Freja New York, a vegan handbag maker; and Raven Rova, a women's motorcycle apparel company.

Kreinz said he'd like to have operations on the East and West coasts as well as Milwaukee.

"We're going to follow customer demand," he said. The company could someday have small warehouses in densely populated urban areas like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, with a goal of getting products to customers faster.

The work atmosphere is casual. Sunlight streams through large windows in the warehouse and office all in one open space. There's coffee and bagels on Monday mornings, and everyone eats lunch together on Fridays.

Kreinz said he intends to keep the company headquarters in Milwaukee, although as the business grows, he may soon have to find a larger location.

"This is an up-and-coming city, and we want to be part of it," he said.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Atomix Logistics ships orders for Wigwam, Freja New York, many others