UNFI, Providence, R.I., announced plans to optimize its distribution center network in the Pacific Northwest. This plan includes building a new facility and expanding another to enhance customer product offerings, create more efficient inventory management, streamline operations and incorporate best-in-class technology. The optimization of the Pacific Northwest distribution network will also help deliver synergies contemplated in the acquisition of SUPERVALU in October 2018.

UNFI entered into a long-term lease agreement with a developer in Centralia, Wash., to construct a 1.2 million-square-foot distribution center exclusively for UNFI on approximately 77 acres. The Centralia distribution center is located in close proximity to two existing UNFI distribution centers in Tacoma, Wash., and Portland, Ore.

UNFI will also expand its Ridgefield, Wash., facility by 541,000 square feet (to a total of nearly 800,000 square feet) to provide capacity for its growing customer base in the natural, organic and specialty channel. This facility will also deploy a warehouse automation solution that supports the company's slow-moving SKU portfolio.  

"The construction of Centralia and expansion of our Ridgefield facility represents the first significant step in our optimization of UNFI's DC network following the acquisition of SUPERVALU, allowing us to better serve all our customers throughout the Pacific Northwest," says Steve Spinner, chairman and CEO. "These are two tremendous facilities that, once complete, will provide a great working environment for our associates, an improved and efficient layout for inventory management, optimized logistics route planning and an ability to help us deliver on the long-term synergy goals we outlined as a part of the SUPERVALU acquisition."

Today, UNFI operates five distribution centers in the Pacific Northwest, a 944,000-square-foot facility in Tacoma, Wash., a 323,000-square-foot warehouse in Auburn, Wash., 220,000-square-foot and 30,000-square-foot warehouses in Ridgefield, Wash., and a 923,000-square-foot warehouse in Portland, Ore. Once construction of the new Centralia distribution center is complete and the expansion of the Ridgefield distribution center is finished, UNFI plans to close its Tacoma, Portland and Auburn warehouses, as well as reduce its dependency on outside storage and third-party logistics services. Both the Centralia and Ridgefield facilities are expected to be fully operational in the second half of 2019 with customer transition completed in early 2020.