“Our customers are growing and so are we!” The Four Seasons Family of Companies has seen consistent double-digit growth over the past several years, and many of those customer partnerships have much bigger futures ahead.
A major distribution center expansion project is underway at the Four Seasons Family of Companies, 400 Wabash Road in Ephrata, PA. A 131,000 square foot addition to the existing state-of-the-art warehouse will include a second dock, more multi-temperature cold storage rooms, plus more ripening rooms for bananas and avocados. Construction began this month and is expected to be completed by Spring of 2022.
With the enhanced capability and capacity, Four Seasons Produce, the wholesale distribution business, will be positioned to support the future needs of independent retailers, natural food stores, food co-ops, eCommerce, and other professional buyers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast for many years to come. Likewise, Sunrise Logistics, the 3rd party logistics and freight solutions-provider business, and Earth Source, the importing business, will gain additional cold storage space to provide best-in-class supply chain services to growers and shippers of highly perishable products thanks to over ten unique temperature zones, and on-site quality control and ripening experts. Sunrise Logistics cross-dock and storage customers will benefit from even more access to a robust inbound and outbound delivery network with full-load and less-than-load capabilities throughout the East.
“At the Four Seasons Family of Companies, our mission is to ‘Help Others Succeed in Fresh.’” says CEO, Jason Hollinger. “Whether it is bringing the best and freshest produce to a retailer’s location and supporting their merchandising, or providing the freight and distribution services to allow a grower to get their product to the marketplace – we want to be capable and valuable for them; so that everyone can thrive.”
And when it comes to thriving, that includes the associates at Four Seasons. “Our purpose as a family business is to be a blessing as we are blessed,” Hollinger continues. “We want to make a positive impact in the lives of our hard-working associates, their families, and our community.”
According to Hollinger, “Food distribution is a tight timeline, 24-hour business. One of the goals of this expansion project is to be able to ship and receive simultaneously using a second dock. This will allow us to bring a higher portion of work to daytime hours for our associates.”
Four Seasons is investing over $3 million into higher wages for its operations associates and professional drivers in 2021 and is actively hiring. Adding more associates will help meet the increased demand from customers and prepare for the expansion.
“We are so grateful for our front-line associates who put forth so much effort all through 2020’s pandemic challenges and now through 2021’s labor crunch,” Jason Hollinger shares. “We have the most committed and hardest working team that truly care about our company and our customers and we want to show our appreciation to them. In 2020 we invested over $1 million in ‘on-site-required appreciation pay’ and other benefits to our associates and we also distributed significant profit sharing to all associates in every area of the company. It is our associate’s commitment to excellent service and innovation that drives our business success and growth which then enables us to reinvest in our people. We are truly people-driven!”
The expansion will include:
• 48,000 square foot multi-temperature receiving dock with 39 added doors
• 72,000 square feet of cold storage with 4-high racking with over 6,000 more pallet spaces
• 10 unique temperature zones suited for fresh produce, plus flex-temp rooms for seasonal peaks
• 28 F degree “chill” zone for the growing organic & natural Meat and Poultry category
The structure is designed with sustainability in mind:
• Four Seasons has a 3,900-panel solar array on its current building. The roof on the expansion is being prepped for future solar panels.
• The company is updating to energy-efficient Lithium-ion electric material handling equipment.
• An EPA-certified electric generator for demand-response and total power back up will be included.
• An energy-efficient refrigeration system will cool the expansion space.
• Full LED lighting with motion sensors will be installed along with a total facility energy monitoring system.
By: Stephanie Fleetman
Four Seasons Family of Companies, 400 Wabash Road, Ephrata, PA 17522