Governor Reeves Announces $300 Million Expansion of Nation’s Largest Retailer-Owned Cooperative in DeSoto County
JACKSON — June 2, 2020 — Today, Governor Tate Reeves announced that Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG) plans to expand in DeSoto County by constructing a new facility in Hernando. The project will bring over $300 million in investment and 79 new jobs to Mississippi.
“When Mississippi businesses, such as Associated Wholesale Grocers, grow and provide even more jobs in our communities, it serves as a strong testament to our state’s skilled workforce and strong, supportive business environment,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “AWG’s expansion in DeSoto County and the creation of 79 new jobs come at a time when Mississippians are eager to return to work and get back on their feet. I know the company’s employees will work hard to continue AWG’s legacy of success in Northwest Mississippi.”
AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently-owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,100 member companies and more than 3,000 locations throughout 28 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions. AWG is relocating operations from Southaven and Memphis to Hernando, where the company is constructing a 918,000-square-foot automated distribution facility. The Hernando facility will have a total of 590 employees.
“Our industry is ever-changing, and we must continue to identify opportunities to better meet our members’ needs. We are excited to be able to streamline our needs, implement technology to assist where it makes the most sense, remove the need for additional touchpoints on goods where practical and to have our employees focus on areas where they are needed most,” said AWG CEO David Smith. “This new facility will help us ensure we deliver an expanded variety of groceries and related products on time, accurately, safely and in good condition while creating value throughout the supply chain for AWG and our members.”
“The Mississippi Development Authority is glad to support Associated Wholesale Grocers as the company brings so many new jobs online for the residents of DeSoto County, which is a result of the hard work and efforts of the DeSoto County Economic Development Council,” said MDA Interim Director John Rounsaville. “AWG’s growth will be a boon to the local economy for years to come, as its new employees will add to the local tax base while giving back to Northwest Mississippi’s communities.”
MDA is providing assistance for site preparation, construction, and public infrastructure needs. AWG also qualifies for the Advantage Jobs Rebate Program, which provides a rebate to eligible businesses that create new jobs that exceed the average annual wage of the state or county in which the company locates or expands. DeSoto County and the city of Hernando are providing assistance with public infrastructure needs, a property tax fee-in-lieu, and a Free Port Warehouse exemption. Entergy Mississippi is assisting with the project as well.
“The city looks forward to welcoming this state-of-the-art distribution center and the new investment and jobs that will be created for our community, who has long sought after industrial investments,” said Hernando Mayor Tom Ferguson.
“We are pleased with the announcement of not only the retention of jobs from one of our long standing corporate partners, but the new capital investment and high level of automation that will serve as a showplace for our county, region and state,” said Lee Caldwell, DeSoto County Board of Supervisors.
“Entergy has been working with MDA, DeSoto County and the J.M. Mullis firm since August of last year and the resulting project is a testament to how jobs and economic growth can be created when the public and private sectors work together,” said Haley Fisackerly, Entergy Mississippi president and CEO. “It is especially exciting to have such positive economic news during these challenging times. We’re proud to call Associated Wholesale Grocers a customer.”
AWG plans to begin operations in Hernando in the spring of 2023.