Albertsons sells distribution center
PLANT CITY - A Michigan based food distribution company has purchased a sprawling warehouse off Park Road from the Albertsons supermarket chain. Gordon Food Service said it bought the 1-million-square-foot warehouse as part of its expansion plans. "This facility is in a prime location to support our rapid growth in Florida. We expect to begin shipping to our customers in central Florida from Plant City in the fall of 2010," Gordon Food Service President Jim Gordon said in a statement issued Friday. Albertsons has operated the warehouse on 158 acres near Plant City Stadium for about 16 years.Neither company would disclose the purchase price. Albertsons plans to lease a portion of the warehouse and will keep about one-third of its 200-employee work force, Albertsons LLC spokeswoman Christine Wilcox said. The company is working to find jobs for its other Plant City employees, either with Gordon Food Service or at an Albertsons affiliated warehouse in Quincy. Severance packages may be offered to eligible employees. Gordon Food Service, founded in 1897, plans to start operating with about 50 employees in Plant City, with an anticipated work force of 350 once the operation is in full swing, spokeswoman Deb Abraham said. The center will distribute food to such customers as restaurants, schools and nursing homes and the company's GFS Marketplace stores. "Gordon Food Service is a great addition to Plant City's corporate family and their investment and job creation are a welcome boost to the local economy," Mayor Rick Lott said in a statement. The Plant City warehouse will be the company's 12th distribution center in the United States and its third in Florida, including in Miami and Ocala. Albertsons operates more than 240 stores in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas. In June, the Idaho-based chain announced it was selling more than half of its 93 stores to Publix and that the Plant City crew of warehouse workers and truck drivers would be reduced. The sale announcement comes a little less than a year after another large Plant City employer, Smithfield Foods, announced it was closing its meatpacking plant, which had 760 workers.
Reporter Dave Nicholson can be reached at (813) 627-4727.