The center will serve all 23 stores currently in the state, and the 10 locations that Sprouts plans to open in Florida this year. Sprouts is partnering with Penske Logistics as its third-party logistics provider for the distribution center, creating 57 new full-time jobs in the market.
The 135,000 square-foot facility includes 34°F and 55°F storage and fruit ripening rooms. It was built for Sprouts specifically. It will support and expand Sprouts’ local farm partnerships with growers like Jim Rash, Noble Citrus, Astin Berry Exchange, and others. This partnership allows for exclusive products like Sugar Baby watermelons, a sweet, crisp, juicy version that will be available this summer; later in the year, Florida stores will transition to an all-organic mushroom set.
Related: Sprouts Shows “Strong Financial Results” in Q1 2021 Organic Valley Farms Reports Lower-Than-Average Carbon Footprints 2020 Food Co-Op Impact Report Demonstrates Importance of “Local” During COVID-19“With organics representing more than a third of our produce business in Florida, we know shoppers across the state are interested in fresh, affordable organics and local varieties,” said Chief Fresh Merchandising Officer Scott Neal. “We’ve put together a team of local produce buyers to bring to market the freshest, local product available. Additionally, the new center’s state-of-the-art ripening rooms provide the ideal climate for produce storage and will immediately provide shoppers with perfectly-ripe avocados and bananas.”
To celebrate the opening, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation donated $25,000 to Fleet Farming, an Orlando nonprofit urban agriculture program that brings edible landscaping to schools, community centers, and affordable housing units, in order to increase local food accessibility. The donation will provide Fleet Farming with resources to purchase a vehicle to transport agricultural supplies and will support the buildout of a commissary kitchen which will allow staff to prepare food within a mile of their distribution hub. Remaining funds will be used to purchase gardening supplies.