This weekend, Four Seasons Family of Companies is unveiling a $30 million expansion of its East Cocalico Township distribution center.
Launched to manage what the company says has been “consistent double-digit growth before, during and since the pandemic,” the fresh food wholesale distributor expects the additional 135,000 square feet will also help the company’s almost constant search of around 850 employees for new workers.
“One of the main motivations for the expansion is to increase daytime work in our warehouse,” said President and CEO Jason Hollinger. “The extra space will allow us to squeeze in more work during the day, reducing our need for so much night work, which isn’t great for the body or a long-term family life.”
With 39 dock doors added to the previous 39, the company no longer has to do all its receptions during the day and all its shipments at night. He now has enough dock doors to do some shipping during the day – most workers’ favorite shift – while simultaneously doing his receiving.
“Because shipping is a more labor intensive activity than receiving, we actually have more of our warehouse team working night shifts. We would just like to change that ratio, to get a bigger serving during the day,” Hollinger said.
Investing for growth, efficiency
Hollinger said he expects the company to hire 30 to 60 employees in the coming years as the business grows, adding that the environment for hiring new employees “has been a slightly better than a year ago, but still difficult”.
The energy-efficient expansion added a new ‘cooling’ zone for preserving organic meat and poultry, more space for cold storage, and 10 unique temperature zones ideal for storing or ripening a variety of produce.
Hollinger said the investment in new temperature-controlled storage areas for produce deepens the company’s long-standing goal of being the go-to midpoint for fruit and vegetable wholesalers and buyers.
“There are a lot of companies that do logistics, but we’re very product-focused,” he said.
Despite global supply chain issues that have delayed some construction projects, Hollinger said the expansion that gives Four Seasons 385,000 square feet of total space at its headquarters and distribution center at 400 Wabash Road was “on time and on budget”.
Securing construction materials early shielded the project from most of the supply chain issues that have caused delays for other construction projects, Hollinger said.
The Four Seasons family of companies dates back to 1976, when Hollinger’s father, David, founded Four Seasons Produce, which now serves customers from Vermont to North Carolina.
Still wholly owned by members of the Hollinger family, Four Seasons Produce is a full-service wholesale distributor of organic, local and conventional fruits and vegetables, as well as organic meats, eggs, dairy products and beverages.
Other Four Seasons companies include: Sunrise Logistics, a third-party logistics and freight solutions provider that helps producer-shippers and growers bring their products to market; Earth Source, an import company; and Sunrise Transport, a fleet of more than 120 refrigerated trucks and semi-trailers that fulfill orders in the warehouse and directly in store.