Sprouts opens first DC in Orlando
Sprouts Farmers Market has opened a new product distribution center in Orlando to support its expansion across the state. It is the first DC to open in Florida and the seventh in the entire country.
Since 2017, the retailer says it has expanded rapidly across Florida and the Orlando Center will serve 23 stores in the state and 10 more this year.
The Distribution Center is a 150 square foot facility built for Sprouts and has 34 ° F and 55 ° F storage and fruit ripening rooms for the wide variety of fresh produce Sprouts offers. Sprouts recently announced that it will be increasing the efficiency of its network of fresh produce distribution centers by locating them within 400 miles of the stores they serve to enable fresher, local assortment.
“With organic products accounting for more than a third of our Florida product business, we know buyers across the state are looking for fresh, affordable organic and local varieties,” said Scott Neal, chief Fresh Merchandising Officer. “We have put together a team of local produce buyers to bring the freshest, local produce to market. In addition, the ultra-modern ripening rooms of the new center offer the ideal climate for storing products and will immediately deliver perfectly ripe avocados and bananas to buyers. “
The distribution center will support and expand Sprouts’ local farm partnerships with growers such as Jim Rash, Noble Citrus, Astin Berry Exchange and others, so that exclusive products like Sugar Baby Watermelons, a crispy but juicy version with a classically sweet taste, are available this summer. Later that year, stores in Florida will switch to an organic mushroom kit.
Sprouts is partnering with Penske Logistics as the external logistics provider for the distribution center and dedicated transport fleet, creating 57 new full-time positions in the market. The grocer’s ability to offer the freshest, highest quality products at a good price is supported by its network of distribution centers, direct relationships with producers and improved quality controls. In addition to the new Orlando facility, Sprouts currently has distribution centers in Aurora, Colorado; Colton and Union City, California; Glendale, Arizona .; Wilmer, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia.
To celebrate the opening, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation donated $ 25,000 Fleet farming, an Orlando urban nonprofit agriculture program that provides edible landscaping to schools, community centers, and affordable housing units to improve local food access. Their biggest initiative can be seen in 13 micro-farms, or “farmlettes,” which they helped create in previously unused front gardens in the community of Audubon Park, near Sprouts’ store in Winter Park. Fleet Farming organizes bi-weekly “swarm trips”, during which employees and volunteers cycle from one farm to another to tend and harvest the products.
The foundation’s donation will provide Fleet Farming resources to purchase a vehicle to transport farm supplies and help build a communal kitchen that will allow staff to prepare food within a mile of their distribution center. The remaining funds will be used to buy gardening supplies such as seedlings and soil for the 13 Farmlettes. As of 2017, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation has donated more than $ 270,000 to nonprofits across Florida to support garden-based learning and healthy eating programs for children, including the work of the Orlando Health Foundation and the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Foundation.