You can fit a lot of vitamins in a 311,000-square-foot warehouse.
Construction of the Vitamin Shoppe distribution center in Ashland is well underway, and the man in charge of the expanding nutritional supplement retailer’s supply chain said it should be pumping out protein shakes and probiotics by fall.
Rich Tannenbaum, a senior vice president at Vitamin Shoppe, said that the Ashland distribution center is the company’s third overall and that it would serve as the flagship center for the East Coast.
“We’re still going to operate our two other centers,” he said. “But this one is a little more sophisticated. It’s a bit larger than the others, and the technology is more advanced. We’ll also have some room to expand in the location as the need arises.”
Vitamin Shoppe operates a distribution center out of its headquarters in North Bergen, N.J., and contracts with a distribution facility in California for its West Coast operations.
Its new Hanover County building, at the intersection of Route 1 and Ellett’s Crossing Road, is being developed by South Carolina-based Johnson Development. Vitamin Shoppe will lease the property. Atlanta-based Conlan Company is the general contractor.
The deal to bring the project to Hanover was announced by the governor’s office in early September. The state is chipping in about $200,000 from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to make the deal happen.
Tannenbaum said the company would hire 170 employees for the new facility, a process that will kick off in the spring.
“The folks we are looking for are going to be traditional warehouse jobs: picking, packing and shipping,” he said. “We are also looking for forklift operators.”
Tannenbaum said that the company would hire experienced people but that it would also have a robust training program for those without a strong warehouse background.
Vitamin Shoppe has almost 600 stores nationwide, including four in the Richmond market.
Edwin Gaskin, head of Hanover County Economic Development, said Vitamin Shoppe is expected to grow to 250 employees over the next five years.
Gaskin said one of the big side benefits of the new distribution center is that the new infrastructure running to the site opens up two adjacent parcels for potential development.
“That’s a huge benefit,” he said. “We don’t have many pad-ready sites in Hanover County. We already have prospects looking at the sites.”
The sites could accommodate structures from 250,000 to 300,000 square feet, he said.