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AWG opens massive, all

Jul 25, 2023

Distributor Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) cut the ribbon Tuesday on its massive, state-of-the-art distribution hub in Hernando, Mississippi. The hub occupies 124 acres, almost one million square feet of floor space and is over 80 feet tall throughout, Kansas City-based AWG said.

"We are incredibly proud to unveil our state-of-the-art, all-in-one distribution hub, which represents a significant leap forward for AWG and our commitment to delivering exceptional service to our members and fulfill our mission to provide our member-retailers with all the tools, products and services they need to compete favorably in all markets served, at the lowest possible cost. This facility showcases our dedication to innovation and operational excellence," said AWG President and CEO David Smith in a statement.

AWG partnered with the German logistics firm Witron to design the food warehouse automation and order-picking systems for the hub. This includes the handling of case and pallet goods; ambient, refrigerated and frozen foods; as well as the handling of individual unit product orders.

Features in the hub include a non-ammonia refrigeration system, 10 pressurized banana rooms, docks on both sides of the building to ensure end-to-end temperature control and five high-capacity generators to ensure uninterrupted wall-to-wall operations.

AWG said the automated system will maximize efficiencies, improve accuracy and more due to the closed system of the AWG cooperative model. The model allows member stores to realize savings in overall product cost and transportation, and benefit from the accuracy and lower salvage rates this state-of-the-art facility provides.

"Member retailers will reap the cost savings while experiencing the highest possible product integrity and safety levels in the food supply chain," AWG said in a statement.

The hub accommodates all products and categories within today's full assortment and specialty supermarkets and is expandable for future growth.

"AWG's all-in-one distribution hub marks a milestone in our cooperative's history," AWG Board of Directors Chairman Barry Queen said in a statement. "With this cutting-edge facility, we reinforce our position as industry leaders, setting new standards for grocery distribution efficiency. We are excited to celebrate this achievement and look forward to its positive impact on our members and communities. The grocery business is changing fast, and with this new all-in-one distribution hub, AWG will be well-positioned to meet the needs of retailers for many, many years to come."

AWG is the nation's largest food distribution cooperative for independent grocers, serving more than 1,100 member companies and over 3,400 locations in 31 states from nine wholesale divisions. AWG's most-recent consolidated sales were $12.3 billion. The company also operates subsidiaries that provide real estate and supermarket development services, health and beauty care, general merchandise, pharmaceutical products, specialty foods, and natural and organic products.

Associated Wholesale Grocers