Our Story

Our history is over 60 years old and was started under the name Cherokee Warehouses Inc.

On August 1st 1950, founders Jim Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Smartt, Sr. started what would become one of the leading 3rd party logistics companies with just a single warehouse in Chattanooga, TN.

In the beginning, public warehousing was the sole focus, but as the business grew there was a demand for material handling services. Selling lift trucks was the next logical step so Cherokee Material Handling was created and became the first division of Cherokee Warehouses.

Years later, co-founder Jim Kennedy, Jr. realized the future of warehousing was in providing contracted services and after creating what would be the industry’s first "contract warehousing agreement" in 1967, Kenco Inc. was founded.

After the first contract, Cherokee Warehouses Inc. and Kenco Inc. continued on successfully; and in 1999 almost 50 years after its conception, Cherokee Warehouses Inc. and Kenco Inc. merged to become Kenco Group, LLC. Kenco was an integrated logistics solutions provider, whose companies included Kenco Logistics Service, Kenco Transportation, Kenco Toyota-Lift, JDK Real Estate, and Kenco Management Services. This family of companies was designed to provide fully comprehensive warehouse distribution and fulfillment services, transportation management, material handling solutions, real estate management, and information technology systems.

Passed down through the generations, Jane Kennedy Greene, daughter of co-founder, Jim Kennedy, Jr. became the CEO and Chairman. In 2012, Kenco became a woman-owned business and was certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This certification made Kenco the largest woman-owned 3rd party logistics company in the U.S. with over 3400 employees at sites across the U.S. and Canada serving over 200 clients and managing over 90 distribution facilities with more than 30 million square feet of space.

In 2023, KENCO Toyota-Lift became Toyota Material Handling South, a standalone full-service Totoya Material Handling equipment dealership and service provider. Building on the success of the originating co-founders, Jim Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Smartt, Sr., our company is still founded on the core values of hard work, integrity, customer dedication, and above all else, common-sense solutions that provide uncommon value.

Our Original Warehouse