TEMPLE, Texas — McLane Co. Inc. took the wraps off of its newest grocery distribution center, McLane Ocala.
Located at 910 NW 50th Ave. in Ocala, Fla., the 400,000-square-foot facility houses 165,000 square feet of dry grocery; nearly 200,000 square feet of perishables; and 35,000 square feet of office and support space. The first shipment arrived on Feb. 4, and deliveries will begin on March 17.
McLane Ocala is the company's sixth distribution center in Florida, joining the grocery center in Kissimmee and four foodservice centers in Lakeland, Haines City and two in Orlando. It will service the quickly-expanding customer base in the North Florida region, McLane stated.
"We are thankful for McLane Company's presence here in our community," said Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn. "We are excited about their growth, their services and their community involvement."
The new distribution center will create more than 400 new jobs in Marion County. By the end of the year, McLane Ocala plans to onboard 316 warehouse and support teammates, and 120 drivers and transportation support teammates. Driver hiring began in October 2018 in an effort to allow drivers to become acclimated with McLane's customers and the delivery process in general. The recruiting team held a three-day job fair in January at the facility and nearly 600 candidates were interviewed, resulting in 233 job offers.
Construction Management Technology, the general contractor for the project, oversaw the renovations and development. The Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership, the County Commission and Ocala City Council were instrumental to the venture as well, according to McLane.
Michelle Chesnutt and Jerry Winterhalter will lead operations at McLane Ocala. Combined, they have 70 years of experience at the company. Chesnutt recently transitioned from division president at McLane Dothan in Cottonwood, Ala., while Winterhalter was vice president of distribution at McLane Sunwest in Goodyear, Ariz.
"We are thrilled to open our new facility in Ocala where the business community is welcoming and open to growth," said Chesnutt, division president of McLane Ocala. "The values and work ethic of the prospective workforce is an ideal fit with McLane's culture. McLane Ocala continues our company’s core initiative to drive customer results."
Temple-based McLane is one of the largest supply chain services leaders, providing grocery and foodservice supply chain solutions for convenience stores, mass merchants, drug stores and chain restaurants throughout the United States. McLane, through McLane Grocery and McLane Foodservice, operates more than 80 distribution centers across the U.S. and one of the nation's largest private fleets. In addition, McLane provides alcoholic beverage distribution through its wholly owned subsidiary, Empire Distributors Inc. McLane is a wholly owned unit of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.