Whole Foods Builds Midwest DC on Chicago's South Side
Whole Foods Market has cut the ribbon on a new distribution center, located in the historic Pullman neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, and set to serve 60 stores across the Midwest and eastern Canada.
The 140,000-square-foot DC, which has increased access to major transportation arteries, will see an average of 200,000 cases ship out each week to Whole Foods locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and the Canadian province of Ontario. Some 26 of the stores are in the Chicago area, with the remaining dispersed throughout the rest of the region.
The new DC rests atop 16.5 acres in Pullman, which has been seeing a renaissance in recent times. The facility sports such amenities as a salad bar, an outdoor grilling space and patio, and an equipped exercise room, all of which the center's 100 team members – all of whom transferred from a Muncie, Ind., DC – can enjoy.
The facility also boasts environmental improvements, being 20 percent more electrically efficient. The DC saves more than 1.3 million kilowatts per year and more than $150,000 annually due to measures such as natural refrigerants, high-efficiency interior and exterior lighting, occupancy light sensors, thermosiphon oil cooling, and redistribution of refrigeration waste to heat floors.
“The Pullman neighborhood is an ideal location for our new distribution center. The proximity to major transportation and other business needs will help us to better serve our customers and support our stores in the Midwest and Ontario,” said Whole Foods Midwest Regional President Michael Bashaw. “We are now closer to the majority of our stores, shortening delivery time, and, in the long term, we have plenty of additional space for expansion to support growth.”
The new center is among more than $225 million in public and private projects moving forward in Pullman, including the community’s 2015 designation as a National Monument by the U.S. Park Service for its historic affiliation with industry, land-use planning and workers’ rights; the 2015 construction of Method Products’ first U.S. factory and Gotham Green’s rooftop greenhouse; and other retail, community center and residental developments and improvements. Originally one of the sites for the production and assembly of Pullman Railway Cars in the late 1800s, the new DC joins Method and Gotham Greens, two of Whole Foods' trusted suppliers, in the community.
The center's opening also marks another move by Whole Foods to help revitalize areas of Chicago's South Side. In late summer 2016, the Austin, Texas-based grocer opened a store in Englewood, a low-income neighborhood, offering a wide variety of organic produce, pantry staples, locally made products and ready-to-eat options, and employing more than 85 South Siders, including 35 from Englewood. The retailer met with local residents and officials to create three key themes to focus on with the store: food access, community engagement, and economic development and employment.