Keasbey, NJ (PRWEB) April 18, 2014
Making a triumphant return to its roots, Wakefern Food Corp. celebrated the opening of its new Elizabeth warehouse with a historic ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.
“We are proud to be back in Elizabeth,” Wakefern President and COO Joe Sheridan told a crowd of nearly 200 attendees.
Sheridan and Wakefern Chairman and CEO Joseph Colalillo joined a roomful of dignitaries – including New Jersey Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, Senator Ray Lesniak and Elberon Development Co’s Chairman and CEO Anne Evans Estabrook – to celebrate the opening of a facility that is expected to create 150 additional permanent jobs over the next decade.
“On behalf of the State of New Jersey, I am proud to open Wakefern’s upgraded and expanded grocery warehouse in Elizabeth,” said Acting Governor Guadagno. “Wakefern’s decision to develop in the Garden State proves that the pro-growth policies enacted by the Christie Administration are making New Jersey a great place to do business. As advocates for economic development, we are pleased Wakefern and Elberon chose to build and grow in our state and we are fully committed to helping them succeed in New Jersey.”
This 524,000-square-foot facility replaces the former Wakefern grocery warehouse at the same site and increases storage capabilities by more than 58 percent to better distribute non-perishable food products to ShopRite, PriceRite and The Fresh Grocer stores across NJ, NY, PA, CT, DE, MD, MA , RI and VA.. In addition to the expanded square footage, this new building will feature 36-foot high ceilings, increasing the storage space significantly. There are currently 345 associates who work in the facility.
In June 2011, Wakefern transitioned its non-perishable operations to a temporary facility in Carteret, NJ to allow for the demolition and subsequent re-construction of its original grocery warehouse in Elizabeth, which was built in the late 1950s. This new location was completed in November 2013 and was fully operational by February of this year.
“The City of Elizabeth continuously strives to grow our economy and create opportunities that generate jobs, as well as increase options within our municipality,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “Working together with dedicated partners such as Wakefern Food Corp. and Elberon Development Co. LLC, we are providing assistance and delivering the services that residents want and deserve. This wonderful expansion is a great addition to the Elizabeth business community.”
“Wakefern’s strength comes from its core focus of ‘families serving families,” said Colalillo. “This personal connection to our business makes a partnership with Elberon and the Evans family – more than fifty years in the making – a natural extension of our commitment to our customers, our stores and the communities we serve. We are also thankful to Mayor Bollwage and the city of Elizabeth for continuing to welcome us as a member of their community and we are pleased to mark our return to our Elizabeth roots with the opening of this new facility.”
Since it was founded in 1946, Wakefern has become the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S. Employing an innovative approach to wholesale business services, Wakefern focuses on helping independent retailers compete in a big business world. Providing the tools entrepreneurs need to stay a step ahead of the competition, Wakefern’s wholesale client base benefits from the company’s extensive portfolio of services, including innovative technology, private label development, and best in-class procurement practices. Headquartered in Keasbey, New Jersey, Wakefern operates more than 2.5 million square feet of grocery and non-food warehousing.
“Our family business has been building in Elizabeth for over fifty years,” said Anne Evans Estabrook, Chairman and CEO of Elberon Development Co., LLC. “We own approximately 2 million square feet in Elizabeth. We continue to be committed to the City and to the larger Union County community. We thank the Mayor, the Union County Board of Freeholders, the Elizabeth Development Co., and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for its support of this Wakefern Project and for their ongoing support of Elberon. Finally, we thank Wakefern, another family business through its ShopRite owners, for enthusiastically supporting the continuance of a landlord-tenant relationship that has existed for over fifty years.”
About Wakefern Food Corp.
From a small, struggling cooperative with eight members – all owners of their own grocery stores – Wakefern Food Corp. has grown into the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the United States. Founded in 1946, the cooperative is comprised of 50 members who today individually own and operate more than 250 supermarkets under the ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer banners in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. In 1996, Wakefern introduced PriceRite stores, extending the company’s reach into Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Today, there are more than 50 PriceRite stores in six states. As the merchandising and distribution arm of ShopRite, PriceRite and The Fresh Grocer, Wakefern, together with its member companies, employs more than 70,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in New Jersey. Wakefern also distributes products to other supermarkets throughout the northeastern United States and Bermuda. Wakefern was named one of the Best Places to Work in NJ by NJBIZ Magazine in 2011 and again in 2012. In 2011, Supermarket News gave Wakefern its Retail Excellence Award and The Griffin Report named Wakefern Retailer of the Year. Supermarket News also recently awarded Wakefern the 2013 Technology Excellence Award. For more information, please visit http://www.Wakefern.com.
About Elberon Development Group
Elberon Development Group’s roots in Elizabeth trace back to its founder, David O. Evans, who was born in Elizabeth. In the 1950’s, he continued expanding his already successful New Jersey industrial real estate development business by buying land in Elizabeth, finding tenants, and constructing build-to-suit projects for them. In the 1960’s his daughter, Anne Evans Estabrook, joined him in the business and led it after her father died in 1983. Today her son, Dave Gibbons, is an accomplished real estate executive and ready to be responsible for further growth in the years to come of this third generation New Jersey family business.