Kroger has opened a new spoke facility in Johnstown, Colo. The new facility will bring Kroger's vast selection of fresh items right to customers' doorsteps, including Our Brands products and national brands.
"We look forward to connecting more customers in Northern Colorado to Kroger Delivery, which brings the freshest products including Our Brands, directly to customers' doors," said Rebekah Manis, senior director of Kroger Delivery Fulfillment Centers. "Kroger Delivery enables us to meet our customers' unique needs and deliver value, like exceptional friendly service from our best-in-class uniformed drivers and a personalized shopping experience with zero-compromise on convenience, value and selection."
The approximately 57,000-sq.-ft. spoke facility is located in Johnstown, Larimer County, Colo. and will work in conjunction with the Aurora, Colo. fulfillment center. All orders are picked at the products' peak freshness within the Aurora facility. Associates carefully assemble orders and place them in climate-controlled vehicles to travel to Johnstown. Once the orders arrive, they are checked and placed on refrigerated delivery trucks that deliver directly to customers' doors, ensuring cold and frozen products remain at the perfect temperature from the supplier to the customer's refrigerator. The facility currently employs nearly 70 associates.
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"We couldn't be happier having Kroger establish a fulfillment center in our community," said Troy Mellon, Town Council Mayor, Town of Johnstown. "Services like this help to not only create jobs in our community, but also allow us to focus on a core value of the Town, which is to spend more time with family and friends and doing the activities we love in Colorado."
"Kroger has developed a fulfillment facility that is unmatched in our community. This facility will meet the needs of both our community and the immediate surrounding area," said Matt LeCerf, Town Manager, Town of Johnstown. "The Kroger family and our partners at this facility have been amazing to work with and we are proud to welcome them to Johnstown. We are excited to watch them succeed."
"In Larimer County, we are always seeking opportunities that blend technology, sustainability and convenience to enhance the lives of our residents. Kroger's commitment to advancing grocery e-commerce with this spoke facility is a testament to the innovative spirit that thrives in Northern Colorado," said Jody Shadduck-McNally, board chair and County Commissioner (District 3), Larimer County. "The Board of County Commissioners is excited to partner with a brand that resonates with our community's values."
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The expansion to the Northern Colorado area represents an extension of a collaboration between Kroger and Ocado Group, a world leader in technology for grocery e-commerce. In 2018, the companies announced a collaboration to establish a delivery network that combines artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and automation in a bold new way, bringing first-of-its-kind technology to America.
Automated hub sites power this best-in-class customer experience. At each hub, bots navigate 3D grids filled with fresh, shelf-stable and household products to fulfill customers' orders. The system uses advanced AI to determine the packing process, ensuring products are packed accurately and correctly (with heaviest items on the bottom) and the fewest number of bags are used to reduce waste. Once the orders are assembled, associates provide important quality checks.
Products move from a climate-controlled fulfillment center directly into customized refrigerated delivery vans to ensure each item stays at the right temperature throughout the delivery process. With each Kroger Delivery van holding up to 20 orders, friendly drivers are then deployed to deliver orders in the most efficient manner possible, accounting for weather and road conditions. Drivers are also happy to accept any plastic bags or plastic film a customer may have, returning it to the facility where it will be recycled by a third-party vendor. Vans may travel up to 90 minutes with orders from the hub and spoke facilities to make deliveries. Associates at the spoke facility will deliver orders within their service area, adding ZIP codes as demand grows.
Kroger currently operates customer fulfillment centers in Monroe, Ohio, Groveland, Fla., Forest Park, Ga. (Atlanta), Pleasant Prairie, Wis., Dallas, Texas, Romulus, Mich. (Detroit), Aurora, Colo. and Frederick, Md. with the expansion of additional customer fulfillment network facilities planned in the future.