FreshDirect, the northeast’s leading online fresh food grocer, cut the ribbon for its brand new FreshDirect Campus, a brand new state-of-the-art facility at 2 St. Ann’s Avenue at Harlem River Yards in Mott Haven.
More than a successful online food service, the opening of this FreshDirect facility means jobs for Bronxites.
“We’re not just creating jobs in the Bronx we are creating jobs for the Bronx,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “I’m not the type to just break ground or cut ribbons to simply say that we’re creating jobs, this is not theoretical, this is not rhetorical, this is happening,” he added.
The borough president also boasted how 1,500 Bronxites have been employed by Fresh Direct, many who live in the public housing developments in the immediate area, whom were recognized at the ribbon cutting.
Diaz had discussed how this new facility will go to combat ‘food deserts’ in the surrounding neighborhoods such as Mott Haven.
“This is the way to go, in the food deserts we want people to have fresh produce, meats, and vegetables delivered right to their door,” Diaz said.
President of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation Marlene Cintron also spoke at the groundbreaking, citing the Bronx’s growth and economic vitality that has emerged in the past decade and what FreshDirect means for the future with its creation of 1,000 jobs.
She also recounted efforts to convince FreshDirect’s CEO and co-founder Jason Ackerman to land his facility in the Bronx over places like New Jersey.
“This marks a pivotal moment for our business, while positioning us for future growth. We can also better serve the community by providing greater access to fresh food and significantly reducing food waste, cardboard use, and energy consumption. We are thrilled to officially be a part of the Bronx community and are very thankful for the local support we’ve received throughout this journey,” said Ackerman.
FreshDirect’s new facility reimagines farm-to-fork food distribution and manufacturing, which will provide even higher-quality, fresher food for customers. It also enables the company to add thousands of new products and accelerate its expansion into new geographies with its FreshDirect, FoodKick, and FreshDirect ‘At The Office’ brands.
“The launch of the FreshDirect Campus is the culmination of 16 years of learnings that have enabled us to reinvent the grocery industry with customer experience, food quality and sustainability at its core,” Ackerman added.
This state-of-the-art food facility is equipped with robotic pick towers, smart routing technologies, and nine miles of conveyor belts.
In efforts to deliver on FreshDirect’s commitment to sustainability, the new facility is environmentally friendly and highly energy efficient, and additionally enables FreshDirect to transition from cardboard delivery boxes to recyclable bags.
This will also go to combat the waste of food as Fresh Direct predicts and projects this new facility’s efficiency will ‘approach innovation and community outreach.’
While most saw the opening of FreshDirect as a win-win for the borough, local environmental justice organization South Bronx Unite expressed health concerns, warning that the multi-million dollar facility would impact the community’s air quality by adding 1,000 diesel truck trips daily through an area already documented as having an alarmingly high asthma rate.
In December 2013 the grocer promised to convert its truck fleet to low emission environmental standards to address the community’s health concerns.
This new FreshDirect facility replaces the company’s Borden Avenue warehouse on Newtown Creek in Queens.