SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets here has opened a new 190,000-square-foot nonfood distribution center.
The new facility, Shamrock Wholesale Distributing Co., is a wholly owned subsidiary Weis began operating in February in a separate building at its grocery warehouse complex in Milton, Pa.
The new nonfood depot supplies 142 Weis stores and will enable the chain "to beef up and expand our health and beauty care and general merchandise programs, as well as provide the chance to supply nonfood lines to other retailers," Norman Rich, executive vice president and secretary, told SN.
To head the Shamrock facility, Weis has appointed David Herbers general manager. He most recently was procurement manager at Peyton's Inc., Louisville, Ky., a subsidiary of Kroger Co., Cincinnati.
The new nonfood depot positions Weis to increase its nonfood mix at stores in "variety and in new lines, as we're always adding variety and increasing stockkeeping units. We're constantly evaluating our assortments," Rich said.
He added that Weis is looking to expand the nonfood side at new and remodeled units. "At our new stores we are looking at expanding nonfood departments as well as at remodeled stores to make them more complete for one-stop shopping," added Rich.
New Weis units continue to be in the 50,000-square-foot range, which the executive noted remains a size "where there's always more space to be had and configure nonfoods. Even with the growing importance of fresh and specialty foods, there's still space for nonfood in our stores.
"You've got to remember that not many years ago our stores were 40,000 square feet, so we have several formats that we can work with."
He said Weis is now sourcing almost all of its nonfood at the new warehouse, including foot care, a category a jobber had supplied. The retailer, however, may use some outside service merchandisers for certain small fringe categories that aren't profitable.
Weis previously operated its nonfood program at its older and smaller grocery warehouse here. The larger nonfood distribution center "affords us considerably larger storage capacity. It also has the room needed to start serving other retailers within our current trading area with nonfood," said Rich.
Rich said now that the food and nonfood distribution centers are closer together, cross-docking HBC and general merchandise with grocery orders is being carried out more efficiently than when nonfood inventory was at the Sunbury warehouse, a distance away.