Sysco Serving Up 650-Employee Center in Suffolk, Va.
North America's biggest food-service marketer and distributor, Sysco Corp. (www.syscosmart.com) has set the table for major expansion meal in Virginia: Sysco has picked Suffolk, Va., for a new US$33 million, 650-employee operations and distribution center. The new facility will be built on a 41-acre (1.64-ha.) site in Bridgeway Commerce Park.
The center's first phase, which will total an estimated 300,000 sq. ft. (27,000 sq. m.), will be operational in the spring of 2001, according to Sysco officials' projections. The operation's second phase will likely be built in the next five years, bringing total square footage at the site to 500,000 (45,000 sq. m.).
Sysco officials explained that 450 of the jobs will be new positions. Another 200 employees will be transferred to the new site in Suffolk.
The new center will triple Sysco's work force in the Hampton Roads area, said Thomas O'Grady, director of Suffolk Economic Development (www.suffolk.va.us).
"Sysco's announcement to locate in Suffolk is a tremendous accomplishment for our city and for Hampton Roads," Mayor Dana Dickens enthused. "Their decision to locate in Bridgeway Commerce Park substantiates what many of us have know for sometime: that Suffolk is an excellent place to do business and one that provides a central location from which our entire region can be easily served." John A. Hall, president and CEO of Doughtie's Sysco Food Services, seconded the mayor's emotions:
"Completion of the new facility will enhance our proximity to the expanding southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina markets and allow us to more efficiently service our customers in those areas," Hall said.
"We are very excited about the growth opportunities this will provide for our employees, our suppliers and our customers," Hall continued. "Hampton Roads is an excellent logistical choice, as well as a superb food and entertainment market."
Sysco's major move will require some reshuffling within the Hampton Roads region.
Most (if not all) of the transferred jobs will come from Portsmouth, Va.-based Doughtie's Sysco Food Services, a Sysco subsidiary that that the company acquired last year. But the relocation should have little, if any, effect on labor retention. The new Sysco site is only eight miles (two ha.) from the Doughtie's operation, Hall reported. Once the 190 workers now at Doughtie's move to the new Suffolk center, Sysco will sell the onetime Doughtie's Foods plant in Portsmouth, he added.
The combined operations in Suffolk will become Sysco Food Services of Hampton Roads, Inc.
The Suffolk facility will also take on some of the work now being done at Sysco operations in Charlotte, N.C., and Pocomoke City, Md. With its appreciably increased capacity, the larger Hampton Roads operation will be better equipped to serve markets in southeastern Virginia and eastern North Carolina, easing the pressures that the company's growth had placed on the Maryland and North Carolina facilities, Hall explained.
A Fortune 100 firm, Houston-based Sysco recorded sales of $17.4 billion last year, a 13.7 percent annual increase, while increasing its total work force to 35,100.
The city of Suffolk is putting up $525,000 to help build infrastructure for the new Sysco center in the privately owned Bridgeway Commerce Park. But local officials say Suffolk expects the new facility to produce an added $500,000 in tax revenues. Sysco officials praised a host of players that were involved in the deal.
Said Hall, "Instrumental in the selection of this site was the city of Suffolk's Dept. of Economic Development; the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (www.YesVirginia.org); the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (www.hred.com); Dominion Lands, Inc., the developer of Bridgeway Commerce Park; and the Virginia Dept. of Business Assistance (www.dba.state.va.us), which will be providing work-force services."
Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate is representing SYSCO in the real estate transaction, added Hall.
Sysco provides an inventory of 275,000-plus products to 300,000-plus food service customers, including restaurants, schools, hotels and health-care institutions. The company's Sygma Network subsidiary provides services to chain restaurants like Wendy's.
Through its network of some 100 U.S. and Canadian facilities, Sysco distributes fresh and frozen meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables, canned and dry products, paper and disposable products, chemical and janitorial items, and kitchen equipment and medical supplies.
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