A new deal is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to Manchester.
Ahold Dehaizes, grocery chain Stop and Shop’s European parent company, is changing the way groceries are distributed to its stores. The company is adding new distribution centers to its supply chain to improve speed to shelf and product availability. The $480 million investment includes the 15-year lease of about a million square feet of warehouse space in Manchester.
“What I understand
is it’s going to be the largest leased on the East coast as far as distribution
centers,” said Manchester Mayor Jay Moran (D). “It’ll be probably the
second largest private employer behind ECHN and the hospital.”
The two-million square foot facility it’s moving into was once fully occupied by JC Penney, has sat mostly empty for a year and a half. JC Penney still uses a small portion of the property. In late 2020 or early 2021, all Connecticut Stop and Shops will start to receive their groceries from the Manchester facility. Currently, they come from Massachusetts.
The warehouse will also
distribute to New York and our neighbors to the north.
“I think a lot of it just has to do with location. You
have such easy access to I-84, to I-91,” said Joe Brennan, Connecticut Business
and Industry Association president.
The company plans to acquire the property in April and will
spend most of 2020 renovating it for its needs.
The facility is one of seven Ahold Dehaizes is adding as it begins a new self-distribution model, bringing its total number of warehouses to 22. The goal is to cut down on the time their trucks travel to their stores. The company said it will cut down on truck travel by a million miles a year and save a million dollars annually once all of the distribution centers are up in running in three years.
Executive Vice President of Retail Business Services Chris
Lewis said that savings would be passed onto the brands it distributes.
Because each brand controls its own prices, it will be up to each brand to
decide whether to pass that savings onto customers.
Moran expressed excitement over the prospect of adding to
the local workforce and the domino effect it could have on the town.
“You’ve got 500-700 employees coming to the area on a daily
basis they need a place to eat, they need a place to shop, and so it’s going to
be great for Manchester.”
Lewis told NBC Connecticut that the company researched the workforce in the area and believes the market is strong. Lewis said a majority of the jobs will be production labor to fill orders along with forklift operators, supervisors, and inventory control.
Being situated near an already congested area near the Shoppes
at Buckland Hills means there could be traffic troubles once the facility is
“It’s going to be congested. We’ll worry about the
congestion later, we’ll see if that’s a problem but right now we’re excited
that that empty building will be filled,” said Moran.
Moran said the state has been studying the traffic issues
around the mall to determine whether upgrades are necessary.
Lewis said the company is keeping tabs on the toll
conversation going on in the state, but is moving ahead with its plans
regardless of whether Connecticut decides to toll trucks.