SCHERTZ, TX (February 28, 2012)—Sysco Corp., the country's largest broadline foodservice distributor, has built and opened a 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Schertz, Texas, to consolidate its San Antonio and Austin warehouses. The new facility will serve central Texas.
The Houston-based company closed its 420,000-square-foot facility in the Alamo City and moved into the new Schertz warehouse in late January, said Bill Fisher, president of Sysco Central Texas. About 550 employees were moved from the San Antonio location and another 250 are expected to be moved form the Austin facility, which is set to close March 25. The Austin warehouse is about 270,000 square feet.
The energy-efficient facility, which is the second largest in the company's arsenal, sits alongside Interstate 35 amid green pastures. The project cost about $35 million It is part of the company's $750 million capital budget for 2012, said Charley Wilson, vice president of corporate communications for Sysco.
Construction on the new facility started in August 2010.
Sygma Network, a Sysco sister company and distributor, will move into the old San Antonio facility in the next few months. No decisions have been made about the Austin facility.
Efficiency was the main reason for the consolidation, Fisher said. Now the company is able to stock and offer more products to customers.The facility receives an estimated 500 deliveries per week and many of the products are sorted on robotic loaders then stocked on 40-foot tall shelves.
In the cold warehouse, items such as produce, meats and ice cream are stored at temperatures that can reach as low as 30 degrees. Despite the Texas heat outside, cold storage workers are always bundled up, sporting ski masks, heavy coats and gloves.
On the nonrefrigerated side of the warehouse, where nonperishable products are stocked, there are two hydrogen filling stations and five 25-foot diameter ceiling fans, aptly marketed and sold as Big Ass Fans.
Inside, there are marketing, sales and other administrative offices. Larger break rooms and amenities such as a gym give the place a campus feel, something that the company was targeting, Fisher said. There are even two full-time chefs and a full service kitchen that is about four times larger than the one at the San Antonio location, said Don Carr, the facility's head chef. There are two cooking stations equipped with appliances such as stoves, ovens, a freezer, smoker and mixers. Cameras are also mounted throughout the kitchen, which allow the chefs to put on cooking demonstrations for customers.
“Every step of the way has been a big wow,” Carr said. “The size of this place really opens up what we can offer.”