Stater Bros. opens $300 million grocery DC
Southern California grocery chain Stater Bros. Markets officially began operations last week at its new $300 million distribution center in San Bernardino.
The custom-built, 2.5 million-square-foot center is part of a nearly five-year plan by the privately held firm to modernize its distribution network and cut costs by consolidating eight area facilities into the new facility. Located about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, the new center also houses the firm's general offices.
About 200 people, mostly employees, were on hand Friday to watch the first semi-truck — carrying napkins, groceries and Stater Bros. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jack Brown — arrive at the facility.
The firm will spend the next six months consolidating goods into the new facility from six of the 11 area buildings it has used for storage.
Deliveries from the new DC to the chain's 164 stores will begin in about two weeks, according to Brown. The new DC has enough long-term capacity to handle an expansion of the chain to more than 400 stores.
While the dry storage half of the new building is open, the cold-storage half of the facility is not planned to open until August. When fully open the building will be the nation's largest grocery distribution center, the company said.
The firm has been experiencing growing storage space demands since 1999, when the chain expanded by nearly half in one year by acquiring 33 Albertsons stores and 10 Lucky markets.
The $3.7 billion a year in sales chain, which is focused mainly in the California Southwest, employees more than 18,000 workers.