ROCHELLE, Ill. (WTVO) — A new facility in the Hub City will become a hub of its own as food distributor Americord opened its doors last week.
“Our expansion in Rochelle, certainly, is a monumental one,” said Americold President and CEO, Fred Boehler.
That’s true for several reasons.
First, when you spend $93 million and open a 180,000 square-foot, 140 foot high facility, it doesn’t just happen overnight.
“When you deal with these types of expansions, it’s years of planning,” Boehler continued. “So, we’ve been talking about this site for four to six years.”
Second, it’s a big deal to Rochelle that Americold made such an investment in the city.
Mayor John Bearrows believes there’s more to come.
“As you look down Wiscold Drive and you see all the frozen food places and all the various operations, this is just another one that will help more businesses spin off this. This is just a start. And Rochelle has always been ready to grow.”
The growth is a sign of how strong Americold’s business is. The storage facility is high tech and very automated.
Americold’s Director of Program Management, Michael Johnson, said, “With the technology, we can do things faster. We can get product in. We also take away some of the touch and human element for food quality and safety perspective.”
As much as the expansion relies on technology, people are important, the company says.
The expansion added roughly 30 jobs to the 100 strong workforce.
Americold calls itself one of the larges cold chain suppliers in the world.
Here’s how it works, according to Johnson:
“We provide an avenue for our customers to be able to store, bring in their frozen product or cooler product, depending on their temperature requirements, store it, process it, pick it and deliver it to as an additional node in the supply chain, whether it’s downstream for supermarkets or other food service distributors.”
Boehler says that mission made Rochelle a perfect fit.
“It’s just a great logistics center…far enough outside of the city that enables us to be able to hit customers like Jewel, Osco and Kroger and Walmart and all these…retailers as well as food distributors, like a US Foods and the Sysco. It’s just a great location to be able to hit the entire Midwest,” he said.
“This is just a classic example of what the teamwork has done both of the building of the facility and now with the operation and getting it going. We’re just so thankful for Americold being here, and choosing Rochelle to be their home,” he concluded.
Americold is based in Atlanta, but operates nearly 180 facilities all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Argentina.
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