In an effort to increase the availability of its freshest, highest-quality produce, Sprouts Farmers Market has opened a new 135,000-square-foot distribution center in Aurora, marking its first center in Colorado and its sixth nationwide. The new facility, located near the Tower Road-Interstate 70 interchange, will provide more opportunities for Colorado growers and producers to sell their items through the chain.
“As we grow our footprint, we will strategically place new stores and distribution centers closer together to maximize our owned fresh product network. This will better serve our customers who are looking to Sprouts for the best quality and value in fresh and organic produce,” said Chief Fresh Merchandising Officer Scott Neal. “The location of our Aurora facility, combined with features such as ripening rooms for bananas and avocados, two of our top-selling produce items, will immediately provide our stores with an expanded selection of affordable organics.”
The facility was custom built for Sprouts and includes 55°F and 34°F storage and fruit ripening rooms that are ideal for the variety of fresh produce Sprouts offers. The center services 45 of the chain’s more than 360 stores, including all locations in Colorado, five stores in Utah, and eight in New Mexico.
Sprouts is partnering with Penske Logistics as its third-party logistics provider for the distribution center and dedicated transportation fleet which created 70 new full-time jobs in the market. Last year, the grocer announced it will seek to drive efficiencies across its network of fresh distribution centers by locating them within 250 miles of the stores they serve.
A seventh distribution center will open in Florida this summer to expand local produce offerings and guarantee freshness across stores in the state. Sprouts also operates distribution centers in Colton and Union City, Calif.; Glendale, Ariz.; Wilmer, Texas; and Atlanta, Ga.
Local Assortment and Community Impact
In addition to fresh, seasonal and specialty produce, like organic cotton candy grapes, lychee and starfruit, Sprouts will distribute local produce and floral from the new hub. Colorado stores will benefit immediately from expanded local and organic produce varieties, and an all-new local herb and mushroom selection, appealing to the interests of Sprouts’ health-minded customers.
“With a distribution center in Colorado, our truck routes are shorter and allow us to cross fewer state borders, enabling us to partner with our local and regional farmers with more synergy,” said Joe Hurley, senior vice president of supply chain. “We’re looking forward to engaging with our community of local vendors further to better serve our neighbors and customers.”
In honor of the inaugural delivery, Sprouts Aurora Distribution Center Manager Troy Henkel led a small ribbon cutting outside one of the building’s delivery bays. Additionally, the Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation presented Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) with a $25,000 donation and a John Deere Gator to increase farming capacity at the DeLaney Community Farm, a refugee-led community farm located in Aurora. The funding will be used to install a hoop tunnel greenhouse that will allow for year-round growing and seedling germination at the farm, and ongoing farmer training.
Through the support of the Foundation, DeLaney Farm has produced more than 65,000 pounds of fresh produce since 2019 to support underserved Aurora communities and helped train 10 full-time immigrant and refugee farmers. Sprouts’ ongoing investment in DUG has resulted in 10 community gardens throughout metro Denver, producing over 600,000 pounds of food yearly, and 31 Youth-Led Farm Stands, which provide families with critically needed access to fresh fruits and vegetables.