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KENNETT SQUARE, PA -- Construction approvals for local zoning took two years, but persistence has paid off for Manfredi Cold Storage, based here. Frank Manfredi, president of Manfredi Logistics Service, told The Produce News Nov. 20 that the first phase of a warehouse expansion will be open for Chilean fruit business in early February.

The project will involve 75,000 square feet of new refrigerated space divided into five rooms. When all the immediate expansion plans are complete, Manfredi will have added 110,000 square feet of new refrigerated space. The current construction will have 37 truck dock doors and five doors for service to a rail siding along the back side of the facility.

The addition will give Manfredi another 9,000 pallet slots, raising the company's total expansion to 25,000 pallets of low-density refrigerated pallet space. This enables Manfredi customers to pick orders by the pallet. Mr. Manfredi said that the evaporators for the cold storage can run at three speeds. The "super-high" speed enables a facility to be used as a precooler to remove heat from a product. There is a normal speed to get products to the ideal holding temperature, and there is also a lower speed that will be used to maintain temperatures once the ideal is attained.

The new construction will include 4,000 square feet of office space for the firm's customers' quality-control staffers to use. As the construction project ends, there will be an additional 18,000 square feet of office space for Manfredi customers.

"Imports will keep growing. We will give our customers more space as they require it," Mr. Manfredi said.

The rail service is oriented to the domestic produce industry. Manfredi Logistics is offering to receive and store domestically produced fruit, then ship or cross dock to fruit buyers within 100 miles of Kennett Square. While all of this construction is underway, Manfredi has another project to consolidate its internal office space.

The Manfredi companies are located near the ports of the Delaware River and provide a variety of produce customers -- and non-produce, refrigerated- foods customers -- with a wide variety of service options. Beyond Manfredi Cold Storage, there is Manfredi Inland Transportation, which is a trucking fleet; International Repack, for repacking customers' product; and Manfredi Logistics Service.

Frank Manfredi's brother, John, heads the transportation side of the business.