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Ivey announces new Ben E. Keith distribution center

Evan Mealins

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Food and beverage distribution company Ben E. Keith is investing $100 million to open a new distribution center in the town of New Brockton, Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday.

New Brockton is a small town of 1,100 in Coffee County, the southeast corner of Alabama. The project is expected to create 80 jobs in New Brockton over the next five years and create an economic boost to the community, and the facility will also serve as the company’s Southeast Regional Headquarters. Ben E. Keith plans to expand its manufacturing facilities at Kelley Foods in Elba, a fellow Coffee County town.

Ivey welcomed the Fort Worth, Texas-based company’s decision to build the new state-of-the-art facility in New Brockton.

“The investment in the New Brockton facility will not only create good jobs in that community but also provide a springboard for this first-rate company to continue to grow in Alabama,” Ivey said. 

The hope for future growth is shared by New Brockton Mayor Kathy Holley.

“We’re hoping that they will expand in the years to come, and it will be a great asset for employment for some of our people here in town,” Holley said. “And it possibly could bring other businesses, as well.”

The new facility will span 425,000 square feet but will be designed to accommodate future expansions up to a million square feet. 

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Ben E. Keith president Mike Sweet said the company’s acquisition in 2016 of Kelley Foods, an Alabama company, was seen as a way to expand to new customers and discover new opportunities in the Southeast.

Once the new facility is open, the company says it will be able to better service its customers. Construction is set to begin by December of this year and expected to be completed by December 2021.

Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield was confident in the way that Alabama’s infrastructure can support distribution companies and the highly motivated workforce that Alabama boasts. He considered it a priority to create jobs and economic development in rural areas and was pleased with the choice of Coffee County.

Holley expressed gratitude to Ben E. Keith, Ivey, the Coffee County Commission, the city of Elba, the city of Enterprise, which is located just minutes from New Brockton, and Rod Morgan, who is the administrator and attorney of the Coffee County Commission, in a press release from the city of New Brockton. 

Established in 1906, Ben E. Keith Foods is the nation’s eighth-largest broad line foodservice distributor and operates today with eight divisions shipping to 15 states throughout the country. It was ranked 330th in Forbes’ “America’s Best Midsize Employers” list.

Evan Mealins is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter and student at Auburn University working toward a B.A. in media studies. You can follow him on Twitter @EvanMealins or email him at [email protected]

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