ben-e-keith

In May 2015, Ben E. Keith Foods, Fort Worth, Texas, purchased more than 80 acres of land in Selma, Texas, for a proposed new distribution center.

Fast-forward to April of this year, and that same “vision” is starting to come to fruition, as ESI Group USA begins construction of Ben E. Keith’s 563,000-square-foot warehouse and office space.

“We at Ben E. Keith believe you get what you pay for, and by utilizing tilt exterior walls, all concrete surface parking and a higher grade of construction materials that stand the test of time, that approach has proven very successful,” says Roy Markham, vice president of operations and transportation for Ben E. Keith. “By buying and using top quality materials and construction techniques, we realize a higher frontend cost, but will eventually have less maintenance expense in operating our distribution centers. We take great pride in our facilities, and believe that helps create first-class operations for our customers, sales representatives and associates.”

Ben E. Keith is said to be the nation’s eighth largest broadline foodservice distributor, supplying casual dining restaurants, hotels, schools, healthcare facilities and country clubs.

This is just one of the many reasons why Ben E. Keith chose ESI Group, Hartland, Wis., to construct its state-of-the-art food and beverage distribution center.

“We started out just using ESI as a design company, and they were very competent,” adds Markham. “Then we evaluated them as a general contractor for our new Selma project. After several extensive meetings, we felt a trust and a partnership with ESI. A distribution center is a huge investment for us, and we always strive for the best product at the greatest value. We look to ESI and their construction experience to advise us in the latest construction products and processes.”

The LEED-certified building, scheduled to be completed by fall 2018, will include an automatic slotting and retrieval system, a modern test kitchen and a training center, among other cutting-edge technologies.

“We believe a LEED-certified building is an important business process. It’s the right thing to do, not only for sustainability and the environment, but [also] our customers and associates genuinely care that we are being good corporate citizens,” says Markham.

Building a LEED-certified building also makes economic sense, according to Markham.

“Such is the case for LED lighting,” he adds. “This singular project helps the bottom line by not only using less energy, [but also] providing a brighter work environment for our employees and energy savings for the foreseeable future.”