Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. announced today the addition of a customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Indiana. The high-tech CFC, measuring 48,000 square feet, opens just as holiday crunch time begins for shoppers.
"We're proud to welcome the Kroger fulfillment network to Indiana," said Colleen Juergensen, Kroger’s president of its central division, in a statement. "The new service is a wonderful addition to the expanding digital experience available to Kroger customers. The network's delivery spoke will provide unmatched customer service and improve access to fresh food in areas eager for the variety and value offered by Kroger."
Located at 9222 E. 33rd St. in Indianapolis, the facility will collaborate with the hub in Monroe, Ohio, to connect customers in 35 Central Indiana ZIP codes with fresh food. Richmond, which is near the hub in Ohio, is also part of the coverage area, the company said in a statement.
Powered by the Ocado Group, a U.K.-based technology company that provides end-to-end online grocery fulfillment solutions, the location will employ up to 150 associates.
"This fulfillment center is another example of how Kroger is transforming e-commerce in the grocery industry using a vertically integrated network to provide a reliable and consistent delivery service that repeatedly receives favorable customer feedback like a best-in-class Net Promoter Score. Our expansion in Indiana represents our commitment to delivering fresh, affordable food in both existing and new geographies," said Bill Bennett, Kroger VP and head of e-commerce, in a statement. "As our e-commerce business accelerates, we're excited to continue expanding our reach and loyalty by delivering our customers an exceptional service for as little as $6.95 powered by high-tech facilities."
State and local agencies were quick to welcome the opening of the facility. "We're excited by Kroger's commitment to continue investment in our community," said Mayor Joe Hogsett in a statement. "This expansion not only promises more jobs for the Indianapolis economy, but also brings the benefits of cutting-edge technology to the local residents who use these inclusive delivery services."
"Indiana's pro-business ecosystem is an easy sell for companies like Kroger," said Brock Herr, SVP of business development for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (IEDC). "We're delighted to see Kroger continuing to grow with Indiana, working toward delivering innovative, technology-driven solutions to meet ever-evolving customer needs and producing even more opportunities for Hoosiers."
With the Kroger Fulfillment Network expansion in Indianapolis underway, the IEDC in a statement said it “has committed to invest in Kroger (dba Kroger Fulfillment Network LLC) in the form of performance-based tax credits based on the company's job creation and investment plans.”
Portia Bailey-Bernard, VP of Indianapolis Economic Development sees this as an opportunity for better access to fresh food. "This accelerates us toward our goal of a more equitable, accessible, nutritious, healthier food system for Indianapolis,” Bailey-Bernard said in a statement. “Providing greater accessibility to fresh food without relying on personal transportation creates neighborhood equity in Indy through fresh, grocery delivery."
The opening comes on the heels of the company’s recent launch of Boost by Kroger Plus, an annual membership program that provides Boost customers access to benefits such as free delivery and fuel rewards.
Earlier this month, Kroger also announced it plans to build a new CFC in North Carolina.