A long-time Massachusetts-based company has big expansion plans.
Big Y Foods announced a $35 million project Friday to double the size of its distribution center in Springfield and create 32 new full-time jobs.
The new 425,000-square foot warehouse – roughly the size of 10 football fields – will provide the capacity for the company to build 20 new supermarkets in the region over the next two decades, according to Big Y President Charles D’Amour.
" An expansion like this sets us up not only for the growth we have had, but for the growth we will have in the future," said D'Amour. " It is a very very auspicious day."
Big Y’s distribution center adjacent to the company’s corporate offices on Roosevelt Avenue in east Springfield was built in 1995 and is “bursting at the seams,” said D’Amour.
" In the summer time when we are getting produce from all the local farms, I don't know where they put it. It is chaos in here," said D'Amour.
He said Big Y looked at other locations but in the end decided to expand on the property it owns in Springfield.
" Springfield is our home and we wanted to make every effort to stay here and to leverage what we have," D'Amour said.
Another plus for the Springfield site, said D’Amour, is access to nearby I-291 and the Massachusetts Turnpike.
" We cover a pretty broad geographic territory now and this ( distribution center) is pretty centrally-located for us," said D'Amour.
With 70 stores, Big Y is the fourth-largest supermarket chain in New England. The company also operates Fresh Acres Market stores, that stock organic, natural, and gourmet foods, the Table and Vine wine and liquor stores, and Big Y Express gas and convenience stores.
At a press conference announcing the project, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked Big Y for its continued confidence in the city.
" It is job creation, but it also sends a resounding message about the city of Springfield: We are open for business," declared Sarno. "We put out the welcome mat not only to bring in the new but to respect the well-established who have been here through thick and thin."
Big Y’s announcement comes on the heels of news that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. plans to add 1,500 jobs at its Springfield headquarters.
Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy said talks between the city and Big Y about the plans to expand the distribution center began last summer. He said negotiations are continuing over a possible property tax abatement know as tax increment financing (TIF).
Kennedy said the permitting process for the construction has started with city agencies. Big Y said it hopes to complete the project over the next 18 months.