CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here will outsource distribution services of perishable product for its Central and Cincinnati/Dayton Kroger Marketing Areas, using a facility specifically designed to handle such items that will open next April.
The 385,000-square-foot distribution center, currently under construction, is located on a 100-acre site in Shelbyville, Ind. Kroger will be a major tenant at this facility, which will supply products such as meat, frozen, deli and produce to 250 stores.
CS Integrated, Secaucus, N.J., will operate and lease the new multiclient perishables distribution center, which will expand the company's presence in the Midwest. CSI currently has 17 distribution centers across the United States and Canada.
"We are interested in this facility because of the technologies that will be used," said Paul Bernish, director of public relations at Kroger. "The facility will have individualized temperature-controlled rooms, refrigerated docking and computer-operated humidity and temperature controls."
These technologies have attracted Kroger's interest "because we have a huge produce business. We're concerned not only about maintaining the quality of our product but the safety of it," Bernish explained. "We want to make sure, in both areas, we're doing the very best job we can."
Shelbyville, Ind., is equidistant from the company's Central KMA, based in Indianapolis, and its Cincinnati/Dayton KMA, making it easily accessible to stores serviced by both locations. The facility is designed to handle more than 200 trucks per day.
Previously, each KMA had its own produce distribution center as part of its divisional warehouse. In addition, Kroger had other distribution facilities for meat and frozen foods.
"Both our main warehouses in Indianapolis and Cincinnati will continue to function," Bernish said. "It's just that the produce and meat part of those facilities will be switching to the new facility once it opens."
Bernish noted Kroger had initially investigated either upgrading its current facilities or using the new facility under construction. Kroger determined it would be more cost-effective to choose the latter option.