Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. announced that its fifth high-tech customer fulfillment center is up and running in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The nearly 337,000-square-foot fulfillment hub will support Kroger Delivery for customers in Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northwest Indiana, the grocer said in a June 28 statement.
Centrally located between Milwaukee and Chicago, the CFC—which, like Kroger's existing fulfillment centers, relies on advanced automation technology from the U.K.-based Ocado Group—will employ as many as 250 associates.
"We are thrilled to launch Kroger Delivery in Pleasant Prairie, continuing our longstanding engagement in the state of Wisconsin," said Gabriel Arreaga, Kroger's SVP and chief supply chain officer, in a statement. "Our tradition of fresh is all about our customers, and this true milestone moment incorporates end-to-end cold solutions, including customized refrigerated vans, providing Kenosha County residents with everything fresh, every time." The facility also "will enable us to expand our delivery services to new areas in the region in need of our best-in-class service," Arreaga commented.
Kroger is receiving up to $1.5 million in state tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) for the project; Ocado Solutions could receive as much as $500,000. Kroger cited its collaboration with the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and WEDC as instrumental in helping the project move forward.
"Kroger's partnership with Ocado on this new Pleasant Prairie facility allows Wisconsin to help discover innovative solutions for grocery ordering and delivery," said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC, in a statement. "While this facility will use robots and the latest technology to fulfill orders, this project is also expected to create more than 200 jobs."
Kroger's other customer fulfillment centers are in Monroe, Ohio; Groveland, Florida; Forest Park, Georgia; and Dallas (where Kroger also launched a restaurant supply service in April). These fulfillment hubs support the expansion of Kroger delivery to farther-afield areas; the Groveland hub, for example, works with a newly opened "spoke" facility in Miami to provide delivery to consumers in South Florida, where Kroger does not have a physical store presence. Additional CFCs are in the works across the country, including in Phoenix, the Detroit area, Cleveland, metropolitan Denver and Charlotte, North Carolina.