shipping dock“Foodservice distributor.” Just taken by itself, the word “distributor” suggests a business in a constant state of movement.

Observers can see that Saladino’s Inc. has been continually moving since its 1944 origins in a Fresno, Calif., grocery meat department. In fact, Saladino’s has grown into one of California’s leading foodservice distributors with a broad, multi-temp line of perishables (meat, seafood, produce, dairy, beverages and other prepared grocery items)—in addition to disposables, small wares, linens and even equipment.

Officials say Saladino’s has averaged more than 30 percent sales growth every year during the past seven years. In tandem, the company has re-invested in its brick-and-mortar operations and expanded and opened as many as seven driver terminals/ distribution centers including six in California and one in Nevada.

In this scenario—when a fast-growth company simultaneously needs to grow in multiple locations—how does it leverage a limited capital expenditures budget?

Last year, Saladino’s identified West Sacramento, Calif., as a key new customer service location. After review, officials identified a shell warehouse and then asked ESI Group to convert and equip it as a high-volume, multi-temp distribution center.

ESI developed 117,635 square feet with multi-temp (convertible) coolers, freezer storage, dry storage, a perishables dock, dry dock, battery charging and equipment rooms, office areas and employee areas. Moreover, ESI prepared another 8,000+ square feet for future freezer use and nearly 6,000 square feet for future cooler needs.

ESI started with a conventional warehouse that had tilt wall construction, a single-ply membrane roof, reinforced concrete floors and a conventional steel structure with a wood panelized roof structure. After considering Saladino’s needs, ESI developed the site with a halocarbon/freon (R-507) refrigeration system; glycol under-floor warming system; vertical storing dock levelers; insulated metal panel walls and ceilings in warehouse; metal studs and drywall in office areas; and dry pendent sprinklers fed from existing wet system. ESI installed in-rack sprinklers for dry storage oil/plastic storage racks. The site also includes a fuel island and truck trailer wash station.

ESI began the project last October and completed it in June 2013—both early and under budget. “ESI was fantastic to work with. They listened to our needs and provided a facility that exceeded our expectations,” says Chris Chatoian, Saladino’s director of company facilities.