To increase the availability of its freshest, highest quality produce, Sprouts Farmers Market in Aurora has opened a new 135,000 square foot distribution center, the first in Colorado and the sixth in the country. The new facility, near the Tower Road-Interstate 70 interchange, gives Colorado growers and producers more opportunities to sell their items through the chain.
“As we expand our footprint, we will strategically place new stores and distribution centers closer together to maximize our own fresh produce network. This will provide better service to our customers looking for the best quality and value in fresh and organic products sprouts, ”said Scott Neal, Chief Fresh Merchandising Officer. “The location of our Aurora facility combined with features such as banana and avocado ripening rooms, two of our best-selling products, will immediately offer our stores an expanded selection of affordable organic products.”
The facility is purpose built for sprouts and includes 55 ° F and 34 ° F storage and ripening rooms ideal for the variety of fresh produce Sprouts offers. The center serves 45 of the chain’s more than 360 branches, including all locations in Colorado, five branches in Utah and eight in New Mexico.
Sprouts is partnering with Penske Logistics as the third logistics service provider for the distribution center and dedicated transport fleet, which has created 70 new full-time positions in the market. Last year, the grocer announced it would try to make its network of fresh distribution centers more efficient by locating them within 250 miles of the stores they serve.
A seventh distribution center will open in Florida this summer to expand the range of local produce and ensure freshness in the state’s stores. Sprouts also has distribution centers in Colton and Union City, California; Glendale, Ariz .; Wilmer, Texas; and Atlanta, Ga.
Local assortment and community impact
In addition to fresh, seasonal and special products such as organic cotton candy grapes, lychee and star fruits, Sprouts will sell local and flower products from the new hub. Stores in Colorado will immediately benefit from expanded varieties of local and organic produce, as well as a brand new selection of local herbs and mushrooms that appeal to the interests of Sprouts health conscious customers.
“With a distribution center in Colorado, our trucking distances are shorter and we can cross fewer state lines so we can create more synergies with our local and regional farmers,” said Joe Hurley, senior vice president of supply chain. “We look forward to working with our community of local vendors to better serve our neighbors and customers.”
In honor of the first delivery, Troy Henkel, head of the Sprouts Aurora distribution center, ran a small tape cut in front of one of the building’s delivery bays. In addition, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation presented Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) with a US $ 25,000 donation and a John Deere Gator to help increase farming capacity at DeLaney Community Farm, a refugee-run community farm in Aurora. The funds will be used to install a tire tunnel greenhouse that will allow seedlings to grow and germinate on the farm year-round, as well as ongoing training for farmers.
With support from the foundation, DeLaney Farm has produced over 65,000 pounds of fresh produce since 2019 to support underserved Aurora communities and trained 10 full-time immigrant and refugee farmers. Sprouts’ ongoing investment in DUG has resulted in 10 community gardens across Metro Denver producing over 600,000 pounds of food annually and 31 youth-run farm stalls providing families with much-needed access to fresh fruits and vegetables.