Gordon Food Service, better known as GFS, plans to build a $160 million distribution center in Westfield and hire more than 400 employees, the company announced Wednesday.
The 500,000-square-foot facility is planned for Westfield’s NorthPoint Industrial Park, a 300-acre business and industrial park along U.S. 31, north of 191st Street and south of State Road 38.
GFS, based in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming, Michigan, is the largest family-operated broadline food distribution company in North America. The company, founded 1897, also operates more than 175 GFS stores in the United States.
GFS plans to hire and train more than 200 workers in Westfield at hourly wages of $20 to $25 an hour before the facility opens in late 2021.
The semi-automated facility is expected to employ more than 400 people by the end of 2025, officials said. Jobs will include operation and maintenance of advanced warehouse equipment and robotics, transportation, sales and administrative positions.
The distribution center will be GFS’s first in Indiana and 17th nationwide. It will include three temperature zones for product storage and feature a concept kitchen and administrative office space.
Pending approval of local and state incentives, construction is expected to begin in the spring.
Mini-loaders, mini-shuttles and conveyors will assist staff in moving products through the warehouse. The robots and layout of the facility will reduce manual labor and help ensure accurate orders are shipped to customers, said GFS Chief Operating Officer Dean Noble.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp., pending approval of its board, plans to offer GFS up to $5 million in conditional tax credits based on the job-creation plans. The incentives hinge on the company’s ability to meet hiring goals.
“Our roots are in the Midwest, where our business has steadily increased for decades, and we continue to grow by offering customers great service and an even wider range of products,” Gordon Food Service president and CEO Rich Wolowski said in written comments. “We saw an opportunity to place a new distribution center in a strong, established market, giving us the ability to deliver more efficiently to our customers.”
The Westfield City Council will consider additional incentives in the form of tax abatements at its Nov. 11 meeting.
“I am thrilled to welcome Gordon Food Service to Westfield,” said Mayor Andy Cook said in a written statement. “We have worked hard to create a caring community that can attract and sustain this kind of investment. From experience, I am well aware that Gordon Food Service is an employee- and community-minded company. They will fit in perfectly here in Westfield.”