Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
08:43 pm
15 June 2019

Groveland goes Krogering: Grocer’s high-tech warehouse coming to city

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An automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities will be constructed in Groveland. // Provided photo

A couple of major grocery retailers went shopping for a warehouse location and picked Groveland. The deal represents a multimillion-dollar investment in a project that is expected to bring more than 400 jobs to Lake County.

The Kroger Co. and Ocado announced Tuesday, March 19, that Groveland will be the second location for one of their customer fulfillment centers, or CFC. The center will be located at U.S. Highway 27 and American Way and occupy 375,000 square feet. The CFC is scheduled to break ground later this year and be operational in 2021, a news release states.

“The city of Groveland welcomes Kroger and Ocado,” Mayor Evelyn Wilson says in the release. “We see it as another component to our overall community development and it demonstrates the city’s commitment to foster quality jobs and provide exceptional livability.”

Kroger, America’s largest grocery retailer, has committed to building 20 CFCs, powered by Ocado, to accelerate its ability to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere. Ocado is one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers.

The CFC model—an automated warehouse facility with digital and robotic capabilities, also known as a “shed”—will be replicated to serve customers across the country. Last month, Kroger announced plans to build two additional CFCs in Central Florida and the mid-Atlantic region. The country’s first CFC will be constructed in Monroe, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Kroger is investing $55 million to build that shed.

“Kroger is incredibly excited to construct one of our industry-leading customer fulfillment centers in Groveland through our relationship with Ocado,” Alex Tosolini, Kroger’s senior vice president of new business development, says in the release. “Through our strategic partnership, we are leveraging advanced robotics technology and creative solutions to redefine the customer experience across America.

“Kroger thanks state of Florida, Groveland, and Lake County officials for their tremendous support of this project,” he adds. “We’re eager to transform the grocery experience for Central Florida residents through innovation and ingenuity.”

Lake County Commissioner Leslie Campione also welcomed Kroger and Ocado to the community. The board of commissioners’ Office of Elevate Lake serves as a liaison between companies and government with the goal of creating a business-friendly environment and quality jobs in Lake County.

“This technologically advanced venture will put Lake County on the cutting edge of the e-commerce industry,” she says. “Kroger will bring more than 400 high-paying jobs to be fulfilled by our local and regional skilled workforce and is precisely the type of company we have been working to attract.”

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Kroger serves nine million customers daily through digital shopping and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, the release states.

Ocado, based in the United Kingdom, operates its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under ocado.com and other specialist shop banners, together with its Ocado Solutions division, which is responsible for corporate partnering. The agreement with Kroger to provide it with the OSP suite of products to expand its online grocery business in the United States is Ocado Solutions’ largest partnership transaction.

OSP is an enabling platform provided as a service to retailers, according to the release. It comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions to run highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate an online grocery business—from user interfaces, through warehouse operating and control systems, to logistics, route planning, and optimization.

To view video and photography of a CFC, visit here.

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