Trader Joe’s is building a $260 million distribution facility in south-central Kentucky that’s planned to open before the end of the year, Simpson County Judge-Executive Mason Barnes told WGB Monday.
The 1 million-square-foot facility—the first of its kind for Trader Joe’s—will span three buildings in the new Stone-Givens Industrial Park in Franklin, Kentucky, and will eventually employ about 900 people, Barnes said. Work began on the project last week.
Monrovia, California-based Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request to comment on the new facility.
The development will include warehousing, distribution and cold storage areas, which will provide space for a prepared foods processing area for the grocer, Barnes said, adding that county officials hadn’t been given many details about what the buildings would be used for.
The Trader Joe’s development will be the largest dollar investment in Simpson County’s history, Barnes said. The county, which is about 45 miles north of Nashville, has a population of nearly 20,000 people—but it’s growing, he said.
“The good thing to me is the diversity in industry,” he said. “There’s a lot of automotive-related industry in our area.”
In September, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approved $500,000 in tax incentives for Trader Joe’s to encourage the grocer to build in the area.
The grocer has not made any plans to open a market in the county, Barnes said, but he and other officials said they are hopeful that will happen, given the proximity to the distribution facility.
Trader Joe’s currently has three stores in Kentucky and two in Nashville.
Groceries aren’t taxed in Kentucky, but they are taxed at 4% in Tennessee, he noted, adding that, at any given time, nearly half of the vehicles in the area’s Walmart parking lot have out-of-state license plates.
“We’re hoping they locate some in this south-central Kentucky area,” he said.
Trader Joe’s opened its first store in 1967 and now operates more than 500 locations around the country. The grocer opened a new store in Glastonbury, Connecticut, earlier this month and has another slated to open in Draper, Utah, later this year.