Vineland Growers Co-operative, Canada, revealed a newly expanded warehouse and storage distribution center in Virgil, Ontario, Canada.

The new 30,000-square-foot expansion boasts 12 shipping bays and 15,600 square feet of cold storage space fully equipped with an advanced racking system that allows product to flow in and out of the facility in an efficient first-in, first-out manner.

"On any given day, this site will see 40,000 boxes of fruit flow through this facility," says Mike Ecker, general manager.

Of the eight cold storage compartments, four boast a state-of-the-art feature called controlled atmosphere (CA) technology from Holland.

"The CA component actually controls the temperature and the amount of oxygen in the space, reducing oxygen levels to as low as 1% for maximum efficiency and quality,” says Dave Lepp operations manager.

The co-operative has been a long-standing supplier of fresh local produce in the Niagara region, and has worked with local farmer-members for more than 100 years. This expansion means Vineland Growers can receive product from various countries around the world, allowing the co-op to be operational 12 months a year.

"Our team not only managed a smooth transition during this time, but at the end of the day, we also managed to come in under budget," says George Lepp, director. "In this day and age, that is unheard of."

"We have our four founding families to thank for their vision to form a fruit-growers producer co-op in 1913, but the same vision and determination is true today,” adds Phil Tregunno, chairman of the board. “The entrepreneurial spirit and a unwavering belief in that anything is possible by working together through our co-operative model has served us well and will continue to do so."