Underground Facility Seals the Deal for KC Envelope

SubTropolis accommodates growth, budget and company specifications


KC Envelope began when four employees of Sosland Publishing decided to buy some of the equipment and inventory of the company’s discontinued envelope division. It was then on October 2, 1978, that KC Envelope – a light manufacturer – was born. As a full-line envelope manufacturing company, KC Envelope produces 600,000 to 700,000 high quality envelopes each day.


During KC Envelope’s first nine months, it housed its operation in downtown Kansas City, Mo. When the company was formed one objective was to find a different location. The owners needed a space with about 25,000 square feet on one floor and a low cost. The search began throughout the Kansas City area, but the perfect location had yet to be found.


“We couldn’t find what we wanted, so we came to SubTropolis,” KC Envelope President Sam Santee said. “They ended up showing us a 27,500 square foot space. The floor was poured and some of the walls were up, but not all of them. It was great since SubTropolis could build the underground building to our specifications.”


The space is ideal for envelope manufacturing. Plus, the low rent and constant temperature provide the perfect environment for the paper, glue and ink used to produce envelopes. “We’ve been very pleased with SubTropolis,” Santee said. By moving to an underground location, KC Envelope has essentially eliminated heating and cooling bills that are a big factor in manufacturing.

“When we moved in, our rent was less than our heating bill downtown,” said Santee. “And in our above ground facility, there was no cooling in the summertime, so it would get up to 120 degrees in the plant, which was rough on the workers.”

Because paper is the product, KC Envelope must keep dehumidification units running throughout the plant. The humidity must be kept constant within a 10 percent range. The office and the manufacturing area stays anywhere from 72 to 74 degrees year round. More than 25 years later, the relationship continues. When KC Envelope’s lease was up and they wanted to expand, SubTropolis worked to accommodate their needs. Starting out at 27,500 square feet, KC Envelope has expanded many times over the years and now occupies 86,000 square feet. “The Hunt Midwest team has been great to work with,” Santee said. The benefits of being in SubTropolis for KC Envelope is the huge cost savings, the one level space for light manufacturing and the availability for expansion. Plus, there are other advantages to working and parking underground.

“We don’t miss having to go out in the winter and clean snow off our cars, and in the summer going out into a car that’s 100 degrees,” Santee said.

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