Sprouts Farmers Market has opened a new distribution center in Aurora, Colorado, its first in the state and sixth across the country. Servicing 45 of the chain’s 360-plus stores, including all locations in Colorado, five stores in Utah and eight in New Mexico, the purpose-built 135,000-square-foot facility features 55° Fahrenheit and 34° Fahrenheit storage and fruit-ripening rooms.
“As we grow our footprint, we will strategically place new stores and distribution centers closer together to maximize our owned fresh product network,” said Sprouts Chief Fresh Merchandising Officer Scott Neal. “This will better serve our customers who are looking to Sprouts for the best quality and value in fresh and organic produce. The location of our Aurora facility, combined with features such as ripening rooms for bananas and avocados, two of our top-selling produce items, will immediately provide our stores with an expanded selection of affordable organics.”
Sprouts has teamed with Reading, Pennsylvania-based Penske Logistics as its third-party logistics provider for the distribution center and dedicated transportation fleet, creating 70 new full-time jobs in the local market. Last year, the grocer revealed that it would seek to drive efficiencies across its network of fresh distribution centers by establishing them within 250 miles of its stores.
A seventh Sprouts produce distribution center is slated to debut in Florida this summer. The retailer additionally operates facilities in Colton and Union City, California; Glendale, Arizona; Wilmer, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia.
Along with fresh, seasonal and specialty produce such as organic cotton candy grapes, lychee and starfruit, Sprouts will distribute local produce and floral from the new hub, including an all-new local herb and mushroom selection.
“With a distribution center in Colorado, our truck routes are shorter and allow us to cross fewer state borders, enabling us to partner with our local and regional farmers with more synergy,” noted Joe Hurley, Sprouts’ SVP of supply chain. “We’re looking forward to engaging with our community of local vendors further to better serve our neighbors and customers.”
To mark the first delivery, Sprouts Aurora Distribution Center Manager Troy Henkel hosted a small-ribbon cutting outside one of the building’s delivery bays, and the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation presented Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) with a $25,000 donation and a John Deere Gator to boost farming capacity at the DeLaney Community Farm, a refugee-led community farm in Aurora.
Phoenix-based Sprouts, which employs more than 35,000 team members at 340-plus stores in 23 states, is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.