Trader Joe’s Breaks Ground on Kentucky Distribution Center

Employees at facility will assemble and distribute ready-made food items
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's is expanding its distribution with a new facility in southern Kentucky.

Trader Joe’s began construction last week on a 1-million-square-foot food assembly and distribution center in Franklin, Ky., according to a local report. The site is expected to be fully operational by this fall and will bring more than 800 jobs to the area.

The distribution center will have three buildings dedicated to the assembly and distribution of Trader Joe’s ready-made food items. Simpson County Judge Executive Mason Barnes said the project is worth approximately $262 million and has been dubbed a “Mid-America Hub.”

The grocer recently revealed that it is heading to Draper, Utah, for a location expected to open sometime this year. Trader Joe’s has also added to its presence in Connecticut, opening its ninth location in the state in the city of Glastonbury.

Trader Joe’s isn’t the only food retailer setting itself up for growth. Lidl is also getting ready to ramp up its distribution with the purchase of nearly 70 acres in Bucks County, Pa. The chain has been steadily growing its footprint on the East Coast, and is planning to build a future warehouse at the site of the Keystone Trade Center.

Lidl spokesperson Jessica Shangle didn’t give specifics about the sale — pegged to be close to $145 million — but did note that a project is in the works. “We are still in the early planning phase for the site and will have more to share over the coming months,” she remarked.

In other Trader Joe’s news, the grocer is challenging a decision by employees at a Louisville, Ky., location to join the Trader Joe’s United union, claiming union representatives used fear and coercion to gain a favorable outcome. According to the grocer’s filing with the National Labor Relations Board, union representatives “unlawfully interfered with the conduct of the election by repeatedly approaching and cornering crew members while they were working and while the polls were open, to intimidate crew members into voting for the union.”

Trader Joe’s United rejected the grocer’s claims, and unionization efforts will remain tabled until the National Labor Relations Board holds a hearing on the matter.

With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaNeckarsulm, Germany-based Lidl operates around 11,550 stores and is active in 32 countries. The grocer runs about 170 stores in nine East Coast states. Lidl US is No. 89 on the PG 100.

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