KeHE Distributors on Wednesday opened its newest distribution center in North East, Md, to help better serve the needs of independent retailers in the northeast region of the United States.
The 550,000-square-foot facility is conveniently located between Washington, D.C., and New York City, and brings KeHE’s network to 16 national distribution centers that provide natural, organic and specialty products to natural food stores, grocery stores and other specialty retailers throughout North America.
“We are extremely proud to expand our operations throughout the northeast region to enhance our supply chain services to independent retailers in that portion of the country,” said Amy Kirtland, executive vice president of independent sales, KeHE. “We believe that independent retailers are the heart of their communities and we want to help them thrive. This expansion will improve delivery times, increase speed-to-shelf of new items and power overall operational excellence.”
Over 90 employees are currently working in the new distribution center, which features 82,000 square feet of dedicated freezer space, 54,000 square feet of refrigerated cooler space and a 19,000-square-foot refrigerated dock to keep perishable items cool and fresh during the loading process.
As part of KeHE’s ongoing sustainability effort, the new distribution center is complete with energy-efficient LED lighting. In addition, KeHE has collaborated with some of its larger customers to implement a plastic tote exchange, which will lead to a significant reduction of waste. The facility also separates recycling daily.
KeHE’s retail clients in the northeast were enthusiastic about the new facility.
“Distribution is theoretically easy, moving items from point A to Point B,” said Mark Knauss, distribution center manager at Kimberton Whole Foods in Pennsylvania. “It is all the chaos that happens in between that you need a partner willing to stand with you in the thick of things, working hard to resolve issues and push on. KeHE’s [Maryland facility] is proving to be that partner.”
Eric Yetta, chief operations officer at Maryland-based MOM’s Organic Market, which is serviced by the new warehouse, agreed. “Spending the last year working with the KeHE team has been fantastic. There was nothing easy about the decision to switch our main distributor here, at Moms, from UNFI to KeHE, but during the entire process, the KeHE team was so positive and collaborative. It turned out to be a great experience and a huge win for our store teams and our customers.”
KeHE distributes natural & organic, specialty and fresh products to more than 30,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers and other specialty product retailers throughout North America.