7-13-2022 -MDI announces 250,000-square-foot, $35 million expansion

Posted on: July 13th, 2022 by admin No Comments


July 13, 2022



Virginia Annable


Merchants Distributors LLC, a grocery wholesale distributor, is investing $35 million to expand its Caldwell County location. The expansion is expected to create 125 new jobs.


The company plans a 250,000- square-foot expansion to its perishable goods capacity, a release from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. The state and Caldwell County offered incentives for the expansion. City of Hickory are considering incentives.


The expansion will convert space in the Caldwell County facility that can be chilled to 34 degrees for perishable goods, the release said. The expansion will create jobs with an average salary of about $59,000.

“As our business continues to grow, demand for perishable products has increased the need for chilled warehouse space to service our customers and communities,” Brian George, chairman and CEO of MDI, said in the release. “North Carolina continues to support business growth and invest in workforce development which makes expanding at this location possible.”


The state of North Carolina offered MDI a Job Development Investment Grant of $1.08 million over 12 years. The grant is based on an estimate that the expansion will grow the state’s economy by $323.4 million, according to the release.


Caldwell County offered MDI a tax grant of 75% of taxes paid on new assessed value from the project over 10 years, Caldwell County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Deborah Murray said. The county also offered to pay MDI $2,000 for retaining 50 jobs that would have been lost had the expansion been done at a different distribution center, and $2,000 per each of the 125 jobs created.


MDI is Caldwell County’s largest employer, Murray said in a release. “Their success is so important to our region,” she said.


The city of Hickory was involved in bringing the expansion to the area, a release from Caldwell County said. The Hickory City Council will consider an incentive package soon, Hickory Communications Specialist Sarah Killian said.


“This significant investment and expansion benefits the region by preserving and creating high-quality jobs that provide security and stability for families in the Hickory metro,” Hickory Mayor Hank Guess said in the MDI release.


The expansion is expected to be complete in late 2023, said Kimberly George, the president of communications and corporate citizenship for the company.


The distribution operation, located in Caldwell County off U.S. 321, is still undergoing a $120 million expansion to its dry goods distribution area, Murray said. The expansion was announced in 2020. Once complete in early 2023, it is expected to create 111 new jobs, separate from the latest expansion.


The 2020 investment also received a JDIG grant from the state and incentives from Caldwell County and Hickory.

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