LANHAM, Md. -- Safeway's Eastern Division here is out-sourcing its frozen food warehousing to Burris Foods, Milford, Del.
"Basically, they are carrying our frozen food products in their warehouse now," said division spokesman John Deckard. "We are currently evaluating our own facility to determine whether we want to rebuild on site, build a new one or exactly what we want to do with it. But in the interim, we are using Burris Foods."
Deckard said Burris has been warehousing all of the division's frozen products since about mid-September because Safeway's own frozens depot was outdated.
"Our warehouse became inadequate, so we made the decision to move into the Burris warehouse. We felt we were better served by going into that situation than we were by continuing to use our own," he told SN.
Deckard said Safeway has not made a final decision on how it will handle its needs in the future. "We're still evaluating our situation in terms of what to do long term," he said, adding the new arrangement has not created any changes on the store level.
This is not the first business relationship between the retail division and the warehouse operator. Elliott Friedman, director of marketing and new business development, Burris, said the company had been "doing a supplemental program to Safeway's warehouse for seven or eight years."
If Safeway opts to turn to Burris on a permanent basis, it would continue a shift Friedman said he has seen throughout the industry. "We see it as a trend," he said. "Third-party logistics is something we've been doing for a long time, since before the term was ever coined. We don't see ourselves strictly as the typical kind of wholesaler, but as more of a logistics business moving product to the stores for supermarkets who don't want to be in the transportation/warehousing business. We think there will be more and more of this."