Grocery's new distribution center promises jobs, freshness

Smith’s Food & Drug Stores is slated to open an 885,000-square-foot distribution center in North Las Vegas this fall, bringing with it hundreds of jobs to the area and the ability to disperse thousands of grocery items to many of the chain’s locations throughout Nevada and neighboring states.

The $225 million facility, created in partnership with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance and the City of North Las Vegas, will be a “full-line distribution center,” meaning it will produce and ship items that Smith’s stores in Las Vegas might not currently have fresh, said Sarah Davies, regional director of supply chain for the grocer.

“Today, those come from our distribution centers that are a little further out, so we’re super excited for the freshness that will bring to the Smith’s retail brand and our customers that shop with us,” said Davies, who cited produce, deli meats, dairy items and more as some of the items that nearby customers can expect to be more fresh.

Smith’s has been working with North Las Vegas for a while to determine the best location for the new facility, Davies said. The duo eventually settled on the city’s Apex Industrial Park for its abundant availability of land, she said, and its potential for future growth.

North Las Vegas has been a great partner to Smith’s, Davies said, as the retailer navigated permit and construction processes and more for the distribution center.

Terri Sheridan, economic development manager for the City of North Las Vegas, emphasized the city’s excitement around the new development, and especially its contribution to the burgeoning Apex Industrial Park.

“It’s kind of like the next frontier for us for industrial,” Sheridan said. “And as a city, bringing the infrastructure to that area just makes it all that more appealing for businesses to go out there and put their stake in the ground, and literally start up shop.”

The warehouse will create roughly 250 jobs for the Las Vegas Valley, Sheridan said, with a wide variety of employment and wage opportunities, and perhaps even the ability for many people to enter the company at a lower level and work their way up.

“We love that business that provides yet another facet of employment for our residents,” she said. “But this particular warehouse distribution center … there’s another set of jobs that are going to be available for persons to be employed.”

The distribution process begins at the corporate merchandising level, Davies said, when Smith’s determines what products to ship to a store based on customer desire and need. Nearby suppliers, including manufacturing plants of Smith’s, its parent company Kroger and others, are identified and send products to a distribution center.

There, they undergo a rigorous quality control process to ensure freshness and are shipped to stores on demand. Routing from the distribution center to the store is optimized to improve efficiency, as well, Davies said.

“So, from the time a product comes to us, it could be one day before it’s at our store,” she said. “As short as one day. And that really helps maintain our freshness.”

The full-line distribution center in North Las Vegas will open in phases beginning this fall, as Smith’s transitions services from another facility in Henderson, which Smith’s Corporate Affairs Manager Tina Murray said lacks the freshness that the new center will pride itself on.

“It’ll take place in phases through the fall, the winter, with an anticipated full-line capacity next spring, so spring of 2024,” Murray said. “But it will be running, at some capacity, through those phases starting in the fall.”

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This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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