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Heath & Lejeune Inc., a nationwide distributor of organic fruits and vegetables based in Los Angeles, will be relocating to a new, much larger facility shortly after the first of the year, according to Rick Lejeune, chief executive officer. The company has been at its present location for about 15 years.

"We are moving to a new warehouse in the City of Commerce, only about 10 to 15 minutes from our current

Rick Lejeune
site," Mr. Lejeune told The Produce News Sept. 30. "It is going to be about two-and-a-half times as big as our current facility," with a total of around 43,000 square feet. The facility will include "brand new cold-storage facilities" with temperature control that will allow the cold chain for various products to be maintained at the correct temperatures.

 

The new warehouse has 18 truck loading positions, he said. "We will have more doors, more for lifts" and a larger warehouse crew, so "we are just going to be a very efficient machine. One thing we are really excited about is that it will give the company the ability to cycle trucks through our facility quickly. I think that is going to be a big plus for us."

The facility provides Heath & Lejeune the prospect of being able to offer a higher quality and greater range of service to customers, according to Mr. Lejeune.

"That is really what it is about," he said. "We are doing this to respond to the needs of our customers, and we want to be able to handle their product more efficiently and respond to their needs more quickly."

The new warehouse will "increase our capacity to do so by having more space available for cold storage, more doors for loading, new equipment handling technology" and other components "related to handling products more efficiently."

The new facility will also help Heath & Lejeune to better respond "to the demands and the desires of our customers in the area of food safety," he said.

Having more warehouse, cold storage and dock space will also give Heath & Lejeune an opportunity for growth.

"We expect that we will expand all segments of our business," Mr. Lejeune said. "We will expand our distribution business both locally and nationally. We will expand our consolidation business. And we will expand our storage business." Those are "the three pillars of our business ... and we expect that all three of those areas will grow with our new space."