LA: Associated Wholesale Grocers Breaks Ground on New Gulf Coast Division
8 Aug, 2011
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Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) officially began construction of its seventh full-line grocery distribution center with a groundbreaking ceremony at the 68-acre site in Pearl River recently. The project, which will include 720,000 square feet of space on a 68-acre site, has been in development and negotiations for more than two years, and the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation is pleased to have played a major role in bringing AWG and its project to the Northshore.
The Pearl River site, developed through extensive cooperation between AWG, EDF, local and state political leaders, and significant contributions from Cleco, will add to AWG's existing full-line distribution centers located in Kansas City, Kansas; Springfield, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tenn.; Nashville; and Fort Worth. AWG currently has over 600 member-owners and services over 2,400 retail outlets in 22 states.
The new facility will save AWG's current retailers over $6 million annually in freight costs, lower the company's transportation expenses, and improve the availability of affordable fresh food offerings and locally harvested products to consumers along the gulf coast.
"We are thrilled to have played a role in bringing this project to St. Tammany Parish, and look forward to the short- and long-term positive economic impact it will have on our communities," said Brenda Reine Bertus, executive director of the STEDF.
EDF worked with AWG in locating available land for the development, in interfacing with parish and state officials, including Louisiana Economic Development (LED), and in securing $75 million in bonds to advance the construction phase of the project.
The AWG development will bring an estimated 588 construction jobs and employ nearly 300 new permanent workers when it opens in January 2013.
"We're excited about the future of our new Gulf Coast Division and the potential for growth and expansion by our members in this dynamic region of the country," said Jerry Garland, President and CEO of AWG. "We have a responsibility to the members of our cooperative to provide them with the best available food and related products at the lowest possible cost. This new Division will significantly lower the cost of groceries to our member's stores and expand our abilities to further achieve that goal for our members and future members in this region."
For more information about AWG, visit www.awginc.com.
STEDF is the lead economic development organization for St. Tammany Parish. The organization is charged with attracting new business and employment opportunities to St. Tammany Parish. The organization seeks to improve the quality of life in the parish by strengthening and supporting the business climate in the area. For more information, visit www.stedf.org.