KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Associated Wholesale Grocers here said Wednesday it has broken ground on its seventh full-line grocery distribution center — a 720,000-square-foot warehouse in Pearl River, La., 20 miles north of New Orleans, that will service retailers across the Deep South from Houston to Tallahassee and into Georgia.
The facility, which will stock 19,000 items and is scheduled to open in January 2013, will service AWG's new Gulf Coast division, encompassing Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida — states in which the cooperative already has 40 members operating approximately 135 stores. Most of them are serviced out of the AWG facility in Southaven, Miss., a suburb of Memphis, Tenn., located 400 miles from Pearl River.
AWG said it expects the new facility to enable customers to save more than $6 million annually in freight costs, as well as to provide better availability of fresh foods and locally grown products. The Pearl River facility is located along Interstate 10 at the intersection of Interstates 59 and 12, which provides great accessibility to independents across the Deep South, the company pointed out.
According to Jerry Garland, AWG president and chief executive officer, "We're excited about the future of our new Gulf Cost division and the potential for growth and expansion by our members in this dynamic region of the country. As a cooperative, we have a responsibility to our members to provide the best available food and related products at the lowest possible cost, and this new division will significantly lower the cost of groceries to member stores and expand our abilities to further achieve that goal for our members and future members in this region."