KeHE (pronounced kay-hee), one of the world’s foremost natural and organic, specialty and fresh food distributors, has found a new home within the city of Douglasville.
The company will hold a ribbon cutting next week at its new 450,000-square-foot LEED-certified facility on Riverside Parkway for invited dignitaries to get a first-hand look at what the employee-owned company is all about and meet members of KeHE’s senior leadership team.
The company, which was founded in 1953, is headquartered in Naperville, Illinois, and operates 17 distribution centers across the United States and Canada to 30,000 store locations in the U.S.
According to Ari Goldsmith, senior director of marketing at KeHE, the company built the new facility to accommodate its continued growth. The new facility has replaced the current facility in Kennesaw, which it had outgrown.
Groundbreaking on the new facility at 1851 Riverside Parkway within the city limits of Douglasville took place in October 2015.
Chris Pumphrey, executive director of the Development Authority of Douglas County, said in July 2016 that the development authority began working with the company in late 2014 and early 2015 as they were evaluating multiple locations to meet their expansion needs.
Pumphrey said last year that KeHE was given a 10-year tax incentive and that the operation has an investment of $28.5 million and would locally generate 181 jobs.
Goldsmith said that many of the current employees from the Kennesaw facility would transfer over to the Douglasville distribution center, but that KeHE was planning to hire approximately 30 additional associates for the new site.
Goldsmith said KeHE carries 70,000 items —some that are distribution center specific. She said the brands the company carries are selected based on several criteria.
“We pride ourselves on being intentionally selective,” said Goldsmith. “Natural and organic food has gone mainstream and is no longer part of the subculture of the food industry and has taken the forefront of the consumer’s mind.”
She said the Douglasville facility is a 100 percent distribution center, but its products are distributed to all sizes of stores, such as Publix, Target, Wal-Mart and other big box stores all the way down to smaller mom and pop stores.
What has helped make KeHE so successful is that the company keeps abreast of trends in the food industry.
She said the move will “better position our vendors and partners and make it more streamlined for them."
Goldsmith spoke with pride that KeHE is a Certified B Corporation, one of 1,800 companies worldwide “redefining business by voluntarily meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability and performance.” She said that as a Certified B Corporation, KeHE joins a worldwide community of companies committed to using business and economic success as a force for good.
“Part of our mission is really being philanthropic,” she said. “KeHE contributes 10 percent of its profits to KeHE Cares, our commitment to giving back to the community.”
One of the ways the new facility will do this at the new Douglasville distribution center is through its Pick & Pack program which benefits the Children’s Hunger Fund. In fact, the Douglasville KeHE plans to build 1,000 meal kits at its grand opening and ribbon cutting next week to distribute to local families.
“We want to share and celebrate food,” Goldsmith said. “We are beyond excited on the new space we have in Douglasville. I think our employees are most excited. We want to make a local impact and say thank you to our new neighbors.”