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    UNFI Moving to Providence, R.I.

    The relocation is slated by May of next year, and the company plans eventually to add 90 to HQ staff.

    United Natural Foods, Inc. said yesterday it plans to relocate its corporate headquarters from Dayville, Conn. to Providence, R.I. by May 2009.

    The natural/organic distributor will combine executive and administrative offices by transferring about 150 employees to the American Locomotive Works (ALCO) mixed-use development on Valley Street in Providence. UNFI's distribution facility in Dayville, meanwhile, will remain its third-largest facility on the East Coast and the sixth-largest in the United States.

    "In Providence, UNFI has found an ideal environment for our business and a solid platform to deliver on our vision to contribute positively to the environment and provide people with healthier food, grown and produced naturally," said v.p. of sustainable development Tom Dziki.

    ALCO will contain up to 1.7 million square feet of commercial, retail, and residential space in an underused section of the city.

    UNFI's new facility in Providence is expected to be a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified commercial interior project, reflecting the company's commitment to sustainability initiatives. For the future, UNFI hopes that its new corporate headquarters will be used as a solar power pilot program for Rhode Island.

    UNFI will move to Providence with strategic growth plans that could see the company grow its headquarters work force to about 240 associates over the next three years.

    "In addition to the skilled UNFI employees who will relocate to Rhode Island, UNFI anticipated needing an additional 90 high-wage jobs as they expand over the coming years," noted Saul Kaplan executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., with whom the company worked on plans for its corporate relocation and expansion, along with Providence city officials. "This influx of talent and job growth potential will give an important boost to our economy."

    UNFI carries and distributes over 60,000 products to more than 17,000 customers nationwide. The company serves a broad range of retail formats, including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the foodservice channel.

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