Wholesale food distributor coming to Foley; 100 jobs expected within three years
Foley, AL (March 12th, 2014) Marc D. Anderson- A Gulf Coast wholesale food distributor will be expanding into the south Alabama market this summer with the hiring of 25 new employees and sales of $7.5 million expected in the first year.
Gulf Coast Produce Distributors of Alabama will lease the city-owned 94,000-square-foot building on East Section Street, last used by Peavey Electronics. The company is run by Christie and Mike Alise, who also own Gulf Coast Distributors Inc. of Biloxi, Miss. with sales in excess of $30 million a year.
The new Foley operations hub will expand the company’s distribution of fresh produce, as well as frozen food, along the Gulf Coast in Alabama and Florida, according to Foley Marketing Director LaDonna Hinesley.
The center will also have a place for local farmers to clean and package fresh produce that can then be distributed to a broad customer base, such as hospitals and schools.
City Administrator Mike Thompson said the center will fill a distribution gap between the Alises’ operations in Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle.
“They’re as excited about it as the farmers who will be distributing to them,” Thompson said.
Over the last few months the city has been working to recruit the business as a distribution arm for the city’s new Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermen’s Market on Baldwin County 20.
“This is a great addition to our business community that will enhance our farmers market,” Mayor John Koniar said in a prepared statement. “It will also benefit our local farmers and fishermen and make fresh, quality produce and seafood available to our region, benefiting our schools, hospital and restaurants while providing jobs and healthy alternatives to our quality of life.”
According to a city news release, the company expects sales of $7.5 million during the first year in Foley with the creation of 25 new jobs this summer and more than 100 within three years.
“We appreciate this chance to expand our business to Foley, and are looking forward to helping area farmers get their fresh produce into local restaurants and to other large customers,” Mike Alise said in the release.
The city purchased the old Peavey building for $1.5 million in October 2012 and recently transferred the property into the city’s cooperative district that oversees the Coastal Alabama Farmers and Fishermen’s Market. The move in oversight was made to take advantage of more than $1 million in federal new market tax credits, which the company will reinvest into the project, according to Thompson.
Upgrades to the facility, such as the addition of refrigerated docks, coolers and freezers, are expected to begin immediately as part of a first phase. Completion is expected by the end of May. The building has the capacity to hold 22 tractor trailer loads of food.
The fresh and frozen food distribution center will primarily serve restaurant and institutional accounts in Baldwin County, and Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida, according to the news release. Target businesses include healthcare institutions, independent and chain restaurants, casinos, schools and colleges.
For more information please visit: http://blog.al.com/live/2014/03/wholesale_food_distributor_com.html.
About Gulf Coast Produce: With almost 40 years of produce experience in the gulf coast community, Gulf Coast Produce is the leader for the freshest fruits and vegetables. With a team of professional and friendly staff members, Gulf Coast Produce strives to provide high quality products efficiently and effectively every day.