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Associated Food Stores' Corporate Office Gets Outdoor Makeover

New sustainable desert landscaping saves on water, costs and labor
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Associated Food Stores
The sustainable landscaping project at Associated Food Stores’ corporate headquarters is 75% complete.

Associated Food Stores' (AFS) new sustainable desert landscaping at its corporate office in Salt Lake City saves water, costs and labor.

According to the company, what used to be grass has now been replaced with “an array of neutral-tone, 3- to 6-inch stones, complementary artistically placed boulders, and wispy desert grasses." This new outdoor makeover is not just aesthetically pleasing, it also offers a significant amount of water reduction, and therefore cost savings, to AFS. 

[RELATED: Associated Food Stores Adopts Procurant Order Management Solution]

Russ Hatt, AFS facilities manager, is the organizer behind the new desert oasis, a project that has been taking place over the past three years, with full completion planned in 2025. Hatt selected each outdoor area that could be updated, created a plan and budgeted accordingly, including the costs of swapping outdated sprinklers for drip lines.

“We’ve cut our outdoor water use by more than half,” said Hatt. “We’re being water-wise and saving on labor that would have been used to maintain the grass. Everything about this project is a benefit.”  

In addition to water reduction, specific drought-tolerant desert grasses were handpicked not just for their beauty, but also to mitigate the collection of outdoor garbage that's often trapped in landscaping foliage. 

Plus, the Gabion stone used for the landscaping was sourced from a local company in Heber, Utah, which helps support local business. 

“The project is 75% complete now; we only have one section on the East side and another near the road," explained Hatt. "Each spring, I look forward to updating another portion of our landscaping. I want to thank the team for pardoning the construction of our outdoor updates, but in completion, we will have something I hope the entire company is proud of. Our landscaping serves the team that works here and is the first thing guests notice when visiting our building."

Salt Lake City-based AFS, a grocery retailer cooperative supplying independently owned retail supermarkets throughout the western United States, is No. 71 on the PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

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