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Grocery wholesaler breaks ground in Sarasota on new distribution center


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  • | 11:45 a.m. August 21, 2023
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UNFI, a grocery wholesaler, broke ground on a new distribution center in Sarasota.
UNFI, a grocery wholesaler, broke ground on a new distribution center in Sarasota.
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  • Manatee-Sarasota
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A grocery wholesaler recently broke ground in Sarasota on a new distribution center that will employ 425 associates.

Rhode Island-based United Natural Foods Inc. will replace its existing facility with the over 1.016 million-square-foot project that is expected to be completed in September 2024. The company declined to disclose the project cost.

The new center is located within the master-planned business park SRQ Logistics Center, just north of Sarasota near the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The company currently operates a distribution center at 6272 McIntosh Road in Sarasota.

A request for comment on whether this was the center being replaced was not returned. It's also unclear how many employees work at the current facility, though a spokesperson says, they will be offered the opportunity to work in the new facility.



“Distribution is our core business, so when we build a new distribution center we want to incorporate as much automation and technology as possible to improve our ability to service our customers while simultaneously lowering our costs to do so,” COO Erin Horvath says in a release. UNFI is a grocery wholesaler that distributes products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America. 

The warehouse will incorporate new technology and automation, including a repacking automation solution provided by Knapp that’s expected to reduce the cost to fill orders while improving service levels.

Knapp, a technology and automation solutions provider, explains in a post on its website that when products arrive at a warehouse, they’re repacked into storage containers. Through automation, this step can be done automatically through warehouse robotics that repack items on an overhead conveyor system or sorter system.

 

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