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    UNFI to Open Largest DC Yet

    The natural foods distributor's latest eco-friendly facility will be in York Pa.

    United Natural Foods, Inc. said yesterday it would move its New Oxford, Pa. operations to a new 675,000-square-foot distribution center at the Greenspring Industrial Park in York, Pa.

    The York DC, which will be the largest distribution facility in UNFI's nationwide network, is expected to begin operating toward the end this year, and will serve as a distribution hub for customers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

    By boosting its supply chain capabilities with the new depot, UNFI said it will be able to improve service. Additionally, the facility will feature cutting-edge warehousing and inventory control systems, among them "Pick-to-Voice" order fulfillment systems.

    "We continue to experience growing consumer demand, and completion of this new location will help relieve our overcapacity at the current New Oxford facility, as well as enhance our overall capacity to grow," noted company president and c.e.o. Michael Funk. "The infrastructure investments in our nationwide distribution network will ultimately serve to improve efficiencies, lower our operating costs, and provide customers with enhanced product diversity."

    Added Michael Beaudry, president of UNFI's Eastern Region, "As always, we continue to be environmentally responsible by using green construction methods and renewable energy sources whenever possible, which in the long run also serve to significantly lower our operating costs."

    The wholesaler will apply for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the York facility. The third-party certification program is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance eco-friendly buildings.

    The opening of the York facility will give UNFI about 6.2 million square feet of space at 21 distribution centers across the United States. According to the company, it already has the largest warehouse capacity of any natural product distributor.

    UNFI distributes over 50,000 products to more than 17,000 retail customers nationwide, including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators, and the foodservice operators.

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