Kroger on Thursday had a similar ceremony at its second such facility, in Groveland, Fla., a suburb of Orlando.
Gov. Mike DeWine and others on Friday cut a ribbon to ceremonially open the Kroger online distribution facility that began operating in March and already has delivered to more than 30,000 customers. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
“We really believe that customers will always eat,” said Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen. “Now, how they will eat will always change. And we aim to be there for the customer the way they eat, and Ohio and Cincinnati has always been a dear part of that. And obviously, Monroe is part of that as well.”
McMullen said Kroger aims to double its digital business by 2023. That business now is $10 billion, with a goal of $20 billion, he said.
Company officials praised the state, its private JobsOhio development organization and southwest Ohio’s REDI Cincinnati development group for the location choice.
“We’re still hiring,” announced Gabriel Arreaga, senior vice president of supply chain for Kroger.
The company said drivers, who are also expected to provide customer service, are paid $19 per hour plus benefits.
Matt Davis, the operation’s general manager, said it was gratifying “to be the first, to set history, not just in Cincinnati, but kind-of American, history within the industry, opening up the facility, first of its kind.”
The group is so proud of its pioneering facility that when Davis ends meetings, the groups together say “Safety first, and then in unison — loudly — ‘launch.’”
He had the news conference audience, including DeWine, together say, “launch.”
There are advantages of using the service, company officials said. For one thing, said Brian Johnson, inventory control supervisor, when a customer orders an apple, “We’ve got the best apple going out to you.” That’s because the service has to meet expectations of its pickiest customers.
Refrigerated and frozen foods always remain that way, from when they enter the facility, until they arrive at a customer’s door in trucks that have refrigerated and non-refrigerated areas.