Econo, a local supermarket chain founded in 1970, is investing $90 million in a new state-of-the-art Distribution and Services Center located in the northern town of Canóvanas, slated to open in 2020 in time for the company’s 50th anniversary.
During a groundbreaking ceremony, company executives — flanked by central and municipal government authorities — said the future facilities will have 419,000 square feet of construction, doubling the storage capacity it currently has.
These new facilities will include the largest refrigerated warehouse in Puerto Rico, spanning 135,000 square feet and 40 feet in height. The dry warehouse will occupy about 214,000 square feet and the administrative office, workshop, utilities and other areas will surpass 50,000 square feet, said Eduardo Marxuach, CEO of Econo.
The new Distribution and Services Center will allow Econo Supermarkets a more accurate strategic planning regarding the inventory of products available to consumers. On the other hand, the center will help in the export project of local and Econo-branded products to markets such as the Caribbean and strategic points in the U.S. mainland, where there is a greater concentration of Puerto Ricans, Marxuach added.
“The evolution and development of our supermarket chain has led us to the conclusion that we must modernize our facilities, to better serve our stores and our consumers, which will give us the right infrastructure to attack new business opportunities,” Marxuach noted.
During the construction phase, the project — which was under development for four years and in negotiations with the town of Canóvanas for two years — will generate 300 direct and 150 indirect jobs.
The facility will be constructed on a 79-acre lot, which provides additional space to double the number of square feet of the dry and cold warehouses if necessary, he added.
Once open, the Econo Distribution and Services Center will generate 600 new jobs. The Econo supermarket chain comprises 62 stores, 29 owner-operators, and 6,500 jobs islandwide.
Canóvanas Mayor Lornna Soto said the “arrival and investment of Econo our town is a significant achievement for our administration and an example that granting incentives to companies setting up here creates jobs, while they receive tax benefits through our municipal decrees.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló described Econo’s groundbreaking as “an important step for Puerto Rico, our economy and for Puerto Rican entrepreneurs.”
“Today we reaffirm that the island is on track to full recovery after months of great challenges,” he added.