Big Y Foods Inc. has revealed the name and logo for its new Fresh & Local Distribution Center, which is slated to open fully in early 2021. The grocer currently has more than 500 partnerships with local farmers across its two-state New England footprint.
“One of my earliest memories was going around with my uncle to the farms in the summer months and buying peppers and tomatoes and corn,” said Charlie D’Amour, president and CEO of Springfield, Massachusetts-based Big Y. “You could just feel the camaraderie and the connection. I'm proud to say that that connection is still with us today.”
The distribution center provides local farmers and food producers with an efficient, one-stop location, which spares them the time and expense of having to make deliveries to individual stores. The facility also boasts state-of-the-art technology and temperature controls to maintain and deliver products at the peak of freshness.
Through the center, 70 farmers, accounting for more than 9,000 acres of farmland, now supply Big Y’s locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut with 1,200 varieties of native fruits and vegetables annually.
“Big Y has been so instrumental in the local community,” noted John Burney, of Meadowbrook Farm, in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. “They have enabled me to continue to grow my business and put 99% of my profits back into the farm to keep providing customers with locally grown produce.”
A typical Big Y sells more than 3,000 products from local food producers. According to the grocer, it actively searches for new craft food artisans to carry at its stores, and can provide them with marketing and packaging support, help with barcodes, or even advice on business matters such as insurance.
“It gives us great pride and honor to be able to help these young businesses, these young farmers, these young producers to grow their business and become successful,” added D’Amour. “That’s part of the role we can play in the community.”
Located adjacent to Big Y headquarters, in Springfield, the new Fresh & Local Distribution center has close to 425,000 square feet of space and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Springfield, Mass.-based Big Y operates 83 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 71 supermarkets, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors, and 10 Big Y Express gas and convenience locations, with almost 12,000 employees. The company is No. 72 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.