After a long search, Atlanta-based General Produce Inc. has opened its new
cross-dock facility in Thomasville, GA, enabling the company to extend its
overnight reach throughout the Southeast.
The new facility replaces an outdated cross-dock in Cairo, GA, and "will allow
the company to grow our business in Florida, Alabama and south Georgia,"
Andrew Scott, sales and procurement manager for General Produce, told The
"If you put it all together, we can reach 11 states overnight and the
Caribbean," added George Wiley, the firm's retail sales manager.
The search for a new south Georgia cross-dock facility was led by Mr. Wiley,
who has overseen expansion of General Produce's delivery network
throughout the Southeast over the last five years.
In addition to the new property, General Produce operates cross-dock
facilities in Maiden, NC, Lake City, FL, and Savannah, GA.
"Five years ago, we first determined that in order to reach pretty much all
points in the Southeast, we needed cross-dock distribution centers," Mr.
The addition of two large wholesale clients necessitated the four-points
approach "to touch all their stores, to deliver next-day basically to any point
in the Southeast including retail supermarkets," Mr. Wiley said. "To do that
and keep legal - drivers can only spend 11 hours on the road - we needed
After product arrives at General Produce's mammoth headquarters on the
Atlanta State Farmers Market, wholesale and retail orders are processed
immediately, shipping that evening and arriving at the distribution centers in
"the early, early morning," Mr. Wiley said. From there, local drivers take over
General Produce first utilized that approach five years ago with client
Supervalu Inc., based in Quincy, FL, and Ira Higdon Grocery Co., a supplier
based in Cairo, GA (both are IGA warehouses).
"It worked out well," Mr. Wiley said. "Over the last five years our business has
just gone through the roof and we maxed out very quickly," thus creating the
need for the Thomasville facility.
The refurbished facility was formerly the home of PFG-Powell, though it had
been empty for five years.
"We will have much larger enclosed refrigerated receiving and shipping areas
than Cairo that will completely protect the cold chain," Mr. Wiley said.
Initially, General Produce will not occupy the entire facility - the company is
leasing the newest part of the building and is making sure there is ample
room to grow.
General Produce will have 10 loading doors and 10,000 square feet of
refrigerated warehouse and office space at the Thomasville facility
"We have the ability to grow into three times that amount if we grow the
business," Mr. Wiley said. "Our landlord has already committed that we would
have first option at additional space as we grow."