United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is adding a 1.3 million-square-foot distribution center in Manchester, Pennsylvania, to its supply network.
Providence, Rhode Island-based UNFI said Thursday that the new distribution center will bring more capacity to support its growing Mid-Atlantic customer base. Plans call for the temperature-controlled facility, which UNFI will lease, to be constructed over the next 15 months.
Located at 1025 Locust Point Rd. in Manchester, the new DC is near another UNFI DC in York, Pennsylvania, which the company noted has seen rising demand.
“Our York facility, located less than 15 minutes away, has felt the impact of both new and existing customer growth we’ve experienced in this region over the last 12 to 18 months,” according to Erin Horvath, chief operating officer at UNFI. “Leasing this facility allows us to best utilize our capital and manage company resources, all while delivering on our transformation program to enhance our distribution network by enabling our multi-echelon redistribution strategy to effectively support our customer growth.”
Besides increased network capacity, the Manchester DC will bring improved capability to more efficiently deliver products and services, UNFI said. The modern facility also marks a key investment for UNFI associates, the company added, as it will offer an enhanced workplace experience led by a lifestyle center aimed at improving retention and employee engagement.
“Similar to several other UNFI facilities, this new distribution center will implement technology and automation solutions designed to enable greater network capacity, scalability, and profitability,” Horvath stated.
North America’s largest publicly traded grocery distributor, UNFI operates 56 distribution centers and supplies more than 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice providers. The company said the upcoming Manchester DC represents the latest in a series of food distribution and production asset transactions completed by Scout Cold Logistics, an affiliate of AEW Capital Management.
In October, UNFI opened a 125,000-square-foot refrigerated DC in Londonderry, New Hampshire to help support customer growth in the Northeast. As with the planned Manchester facility, the Londonderry site brings added capacity and eases pressure at the company’s DCs in Chesterfield, New Hampshire, and Dayville, Connecticut.
And last week, UNFI said it plans to deploy new Symbotic robotics and automation software at its 1.15 million-square-foot distribution center in Centralia, Washington. The facility will be the first to get Symbotic’s automation, which provides robotic case-pick capabilities, under a deal announced in September that calls for the platform to deploy to five UNFI distribution centers over a four-year period.