Food Lion distribution center in Dunn open a year after tornado
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — Food Lion has re-opened its distribution center in Dunn, which was severely damaged last year by a tornado.
No employees were injured or killed when the storm hit between shifts on April 16, 2011.
Within 24 hours of the tornado, Food Lion had allocated shipping to three other distribution centers, including one in Salisbury, spokeswoman Christy Phillips-Brown said. Dozens of drivers and employees from the Dunn center moved to Salisbury for a year to work, she said.
They have returned to their jobs in Dunn. No employees were laid off due to the tornado.
“The re-opening of this facility is extremely important to our company’s distribution and transportation network and its support of Food Lion stores in North Carolina,” Mark Doiron, chief supply officer for Delhaize America, parent company of Food Lion, said Tuesday at the reopening ceremony.
Although the tornado hit Harnett County only three weeks prior to the launching of a new Food Lion strategy for the Raleigh and Fayetteville markets, officials say the new strategy was launched successfully, according to the Daily Record in Dunn.
“Food Lion is extremely grateful for the dedication of the Dunn distribution and transportation associates who support our stores and enable us to deliver grocery products to our customers every day,” Food Lion President Cathy Green Burns said. “We are proud of this most recent business expansion in North Carolina and the reopening of the center to serve our customers.”
The distribution center in Dunn first opened in 1988. The facility has more than 700 employees and is about 1.3 million square feet, slightly smaller than the 1.6 million-square-foot Salisbury distribution center.
About 150 drivers and warehouse associates who worked at the Dunn center when the tornado hit went to work in Salisbury, Cisputanta, Va. and Elloree, S.C., she said.
The Dunn center services 270 Food Lion stores in North Carolina. The new facility includes an expanded refrigerated and frozen section of an additional 54,000 square feet that provides added storage for more than 4,000 dairy, meat and frozen food products.
On average, the distribution facility ships more than 1.4 million cases of products each week and houses 12,800 items.
Phillips-Brown said improvements include an enhanced basketball court, lockers for all 733 associates, new windows and new awnings implemented in the second-floor manager’s offices, an expanded break room for employees, a new fitness center for associates and a new elevator added to the northeastern corridor.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.