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Manfredi’s New Jersey extension construction needs expansion

manfredi22 For several years Manfredi Cold Storage & Distribution Inc., based in Kennett Square, PA, has waited for the right time to expand its operations to a strategically- important location in southern New Jersey.

In late June, Frank Manfredi, president of the firm, indicated that he has made no secret of the plans. Potential Garden State extension customers held patiently, waiting for the proverbial trigger.

Construction underway now is a 100,000-square-foot cold storage, packing and cross-docking facility in Oldmans Township, NJ, just south of the Commodore Barry Bridge on Route US 130. This is the first phase of a planned and approved 600,000-square-foot facility on 52 acres with rail access. 

Once construction began, customers signed to participate in the new site.

Manfredi said he suddenly faced a lack of space in a facility that will not be completed until April 2021. So, Manfredi started meeting with architects this July to plan immediate warehouse phase two construction.

A key to the success of Manfredi Cold Storage — and the sister operations under The Manfredi Companies’ umbrella — is the family’s unrelenting attention to detail in serving customer needs.

Frank Manfredi is a partner with his "older" brother John. "Johnny is excited and supportive of the new venture into New Jersey, proving enthusiasm has no age,” he said.

The brothers are dedicated to assure that customers in the coming Manfredi New Jersey facility have exactly the high level of service received in Kennett Square, Frank added.

A top management member will be present every day in the Pedricktown, NJ, facility. But this new location gives longtime Kennett Square employees new positions to accelerate their corporate climb, bringing great staff enthusiasm, Manfredi added.

The first 100,000 square feet of the project include four cold rooms, which have independent temperature zones. The initial capacity is 4,200 pallets. A 30,000-square-foot repacking facility directly connects to all four cold rooms.

The New Jersey facility will mirror the Kennett Square facility in that both facilities have low density storage allowing the customer to dictate specifically what pallet numbers have to be reworked or shipped. Historically, customers asked Manfredi to “ship and pick anything within a lot, then dictate what pallets not to use within the lot, not wanting to use a particular grower or pack date.” Such a subjective request is placed upon personnel whose expertise is forklift driving. But when a customer is specific on which fruit pallet to ship, the drivers’ work is greatly expedited and Manfredi is freed to focus on what it does best.

Manfredi said one improvement in New Jersey over the vast Kennett Square facility is a 10-foot extension to temperature-controlled loading docks.

He added that the current experience with Covid-19 has brought some design changes for occupant health that would not have previously been considered. Tenants’ offices will all be on placed on the ground floor, to minimize the need for common areas, such as elevators. In a similar spirit, each office will have a dedicated private bathroom. Shipping-receiving and the truck drivers’ lounge also have been redesigned to minimize close personal contact.

This season in Kennett Square, Manfredi took the right precautions to prevent coronavirus spread. What few cases did arise were to people who were not in contact with one another at Manfredi, which has been interpreted as an indication that limited infections came from outside the workplace.

Manfredi said that he might have preferred to open in New Jersey in February, rather than April 2021, in order to serve the bulk of the 2021 Chilean fruit business arriving along the Delaware River. But the upside of an April opening is the opportunity to “starting crawling before we walk. And then we can start to run. If you start running from the beginning, you could trip. Now we’re going to crawl, walk and then we will run.”

Manfredi said the New Jersey site has over 2,000 feet of road frontage along Route US 130. The facility will feature inspection-capable docks. The warehouse doors are 104-inches tall. There are more than 10,000 square feet dedicated to employee breakrooms, bathrooms, and locker areas.

The New Jersey construction comes on the heels of two 2019 new additions totaling 100,000 square feet at the Kennett Square site. Manfredi’s Kennett Square location now has a 40,000-square-foot packing area. There is storage for 30,000 pallets and eight ripening rooms.

Manfredi designed the New Jersey facility and refrigeration systems and is the project’s general contractor, using the same relationships with subcontractors it has used in the past.

 

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