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Dietz & Watson plans to nearly double its footprint in the Tacony section of its hometown of Philadelphia with a new "food campus," adding another 158 jobs to the 691 the national producer and distributor of deli meats and cheeses already provides for local residents.
Together with Black Bear Distribution LLC, an affiliated logistics firm it established, Dietz & Watson will spend more than $50 million to build a 200,000-square-foot distribution center, enhance its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility, and construct a new fleet-maintenance facility. A cutting-edge conveyer system will transfer food from the kitchens directly to new storage facilities, eliminating more than 200 weekly truck trips over the Delaware River, and thereby reducing congestion and pollution. The expansion will add about 20 acres to the company’s existing 22 acres along the North Delaware waterfront.
Black Bear will relocate 110 jobs from Delanco, N.J., where, in September 2013, a fire destroyed the Dietz & Watson's national distribution center.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our family-owned company to grow in the city and state that has supported us for 75 years," said Dietz & Watson President and CEO Louis Eni, a grandson of Gottlieb Dietz, who founded the company in 1939. "We had our eye on this property nearly 10 years ago, when we first began plans to build a large distribution center, but it wasn't available at the time. … Our family thought long and hard about the decision to leave New Jersey. But in the end, we believe it's the right decision for our employees, our customers and for the future of our company."
The project involved the Governor's Action Team, a group of economic development professionals reporting directly to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and working with businesses that wish to locate to or expand in the state; the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. (PIDC); the Philadelphia Department of Commerce; and the office of Philadelphia City Councilman Bobby Henon.
"This partnership with the Eni family and city and state officials has resulted in a transaction that will support Dietz and Watson's physical expansion and new employment in Tacony, make new land available for additional manufacturing and industrial investment, and extend waterfront recreation along the banks of the Delaware River, a win all around for the city, the commonwealth, local residents and the business community," said PIDC President John Grady.