Whole Foods to open distribution center in Braselton

BRASELTON - Whole Foods Market officials recently announced plans to open a 100,000-square-foot distribution center on Ga. Highway 124 in Braselton.

The center, scheduled to open this fall, is expected to employ about 100 workers and add 20 new jobs. It should inject about $3 million into Braselton's and Jackson County's economy annually, according to Darrah Horgan, spokeswoman for Whole Foods.

The distribution center will move from its 100,000-square-foot location at 2025 Satellite Point in Duluth.

"This state of the art building is something we had to do for the future growth of our region," said Joey Herndon, Whole Foods vice president.

"With the size of this facility, we are able to purchase in larger quantities and more directly, making our distribution process more efficient."

The new center will stand on a 15.3-acre site next to Home Depot's distribution center, according to Richard Mayberry, Braselton's mayor pro-tem.

"It is an attractive location, as far as access to (Interstate) 85 and the area's future," Mayberry said. "It's perfect for distribution to the Carolinas, Gwinnett and Atlanta. It will be a revenue-making endeavor that Braselton and Jackson County are really looking forward to."

Whole Foods Market is a natural and organic foods grocery with about 175 stores in the U. S., Canada and United Kingdom.

The new distribution center will serve stores in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

ARCO Design/Build will construct "green features" into the building to reduce its environmental impact, like a solar water heater, fluorescent lighting, a solar monument sign with LED lights, a recycled wood reception desk and 85 percent recycled carpet in office areas. All distribution center trucks use bio-diesel fuel, Horgan said.

Whole Foods employs more than 39,000 workers and is ranked fifth on Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2007.