Ribbon cutting participants included (from left) Billy Joe Driver, mayor of Clanton; Bobby Tatum, chairman of the Merchants Board of Directors; U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, representing the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama; Andy Mercier, president and CEO; Donald Suber, retired president and CEO; Woody Cheatham, regional president; Vincent Perez, project manager with the Alabama Department of Commerce; State Rep. Jimmy Martin; and Janice Hull, director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce.

Merchants Foodservice held a ribbon cutting on June 1 for an expansion to its distribution center in Clanton, Alabama.

Local officials, Merchants vendor partners and members of the Chilton County business community attended the event. Woody Cheatham, the regional president overseeing the Clanton center, acted as master of ceremonies and welcomed guests. Andy Mercier, president and CEO, spoke on the company’s history in Clanton and its continued growth as a vital member of the community.

Other speakers included Janice Hull, director of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce; Billy Joe Driver, mayor of Clanton; U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, representing the Sixth Congressional District of Alabama; and Vincent Perez, project manager with the Alabama Department of Commerce. Following the program, the ribbon was cut and guests enjoyed refreshments and tours of the added areas.

The Clanton center was constructed in 1999. The new expansion, valued at $8 million, is the fourth since the initial construction. The center now comprises 200,000 square feet of dry, refrigerated and frozen warehouse space with 8 million cubic feet of storage space. The center serves nearly 3,000 customers predominantly in the state of Alabama and throughout the Florida Panhandle.

The center employs 220 people. An additional 60 employees will be phased in as the expansion is completed.

“With 50 percent of the Alabama population within 150 miles, we felt this was a strategic location when we opened in 1999,” said Mercier. “We took a risk and planted our stake here in Clanton … and we have been beyond pleased with the fruit. This growth has truly been a great example of a strong local workforce and collaboration between private enterprise, local governments and local businesses.”

Headquartered in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Merchants Foodservice is ranked 12th in sales volume among the approximately 2,600 food distribution companies in the United States with 2015 sales of nearly $650 million and 1,000 employees. In addition to the center in Clanton, other distribution centers are located in Jackson, Mississippi; Newberry, South Carolina; and Tifton, Georgia. The company serves 12 Southeastern states.

Food safety, sustainability and the latest technology remain at the core of the company’s mission to provide quality products and services to customers.

For more information on Merchants, visit www.merchantsfoodservice.com.