About four years ago, Site Selection Group worked on DC projects for both Hershey’s and Nestle which both chose sites in western Illinois. “In both instances, this was intended to distribute products to be within reach of and serve St. Louis and Chicago markets,” Brandon says.
HOUSTON AND ENVIRONS
Brandon reports that Houston has been a significant and growing force in the food distribution arena.
“Texas as a whole has done very well, from the Rio Grande Valley to the tip of the Panhandle north of Amarillo,” he says.
He points to the heavy population concentration—within reach of San Antonio, Dallas and Fort Worth—and a superb transportation infrastructure, including a good highway system and robust port activity.
Three recent DCs in this area include American Rice in Freeport (southeast of Houston), Glazier Foods Group right in Houston, and U.S. Foodservice in Buda, west of Houston.
OUTER ATLANTA REGION
The Atlanta region’s location offers appeal, particularly Macon which is about 80 miles southeast of Atlanta. “The strategic appeal to Macon, where there is a new Sara Lee DC, is it is close to the biggest population centers in the South, serving markets in Atlanta, Charlotte, and Birmingham,” says Sweeney.
The region offers excellent road, rail and air transportation. “You also have two of the better ports on the East Coast with Savannah and Charleston ports,” he continues. “Highway 16 was built primarily to connect Savannah to Atlanta, so there is easy access directly to the port from wherever around Atlanta you might locate your facility.”
Sweeney adds that this location offers non-union workforces and dependable labor availability. Recently Coca-Cola Enterprise built two DCs here and Brandon notes a variety of new 3PLs also located here.
THE GREATER LEHIGH VALLEY, PA
One of the attractions of the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton region of the Keystone State is its proximity to large population centers, including the New York City metropolis and the Boston-to-Washington, DC megalopolis, reports Sweeney.
“Companies can expect less operating expenses here over New York City or northern New Jersey. It also has a well-developed infrastructure with good highways, rail, water, and air transport.” Tootsie Roll Industries just announced it will build a DC here. The non-union workforce here makes the region an attractive choice, says Sweeney.
HUDSON VALLEY, NY
Another area with great appeal for the Washington-to-Boston region is the Hudson Valley and north or west toward Binghamton, offering attractive labor and real estate costs, reports Brandon.
“This region serves the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, extending from the Pennsylvania-Maryland border north into New England,” says Brandon. “We see this region as the principal growth area in food distribution for the Northeast—in towns like Mamaroneck, Mechanicsville, Monroe and Coxsackie.”
Recent activity in this region includes new DCs for Price Chopper, DeCrescente (in Mechanicsville), and Empire Merchants in Coxsackie.
The following areas are quickly becoming bustling locations for DCs.
Northern Ohio: Northern Ohio has shown a strong propensity to growth food distribution businesses there, reports Brandon. Woeber Mustard built and expanded a major DC in Springfield recently, and Reinhart Food Service recently built a DC in Lockland.
Louisville, KY: “Louisville finds itself going head-to-head with Indianapolis today—so it’s not Memphis anymore and the decisions that are made are either Indianapolis or Louisville, with Louisville in the lead,” reports Brandon. Site Selection Group recently worked in “very capital-intense operations” involving refrigeration and freezing for Kraft and for Gordon Foods—with its state-of-the-art freezer warehouse.
Louisville’s excellent transportation infrastructure and Kentucky’s attractive tax profile contribute to the city’s appeal, Brandon explains. “This region has a dense distribution sector and much of that is food-related, supported by aggressive developers and 3PL operators.”
Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville’s appeal is its active port, which created an environment where 3PLs have blossomed in the foodservice and other industries, he continues. The intersection of Interstate 10 and I-95 also contributes to its allure. Recent new DCs include Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and Quaker Oats.