( Courtesy Nickey Gregory )

A few of the large wholesalers and distributors at the Atlanta State Farmers Market, Forest Park, Ga., have expanded by adding or moving into new spaces on the property.

The expansions have had a ripple effect, opening up other spaces for other companies to expand, said Jeff Howard, markets manager.

“It’s growth. That’s what it is. It’s growth,” Howard said. 

“We’re on 150 acres and we’re limited to where we can go, so you have to tear down something and rebuild it bigger and better and more readily available and readily usable for the 21st century.”

Close to a quarter of the market, which was built in the 1950s, was torn down for the Phoenix Wholesale Foodservice division of Collins Bros. Produce Co. to have a new, almost 80,000-square-foot facility, said David Collins, who runs the company with his brothers.

They moved into the new space near the end of April, he said.

“We think it’s bright, clean, open and a lot easier to clean. It’s a better vessel for ingress and egress of product; it’s streamlined. It’s better material, better design,” Collins said. 

“At the end of the day, it’s going to do a better job.”

In Building T, the new facility has motion-detector lighting, extra wall barriers and about 25 cross docks to receive on one side and load on the other.

There are flexible door enclosures so the dock wraps itself around the refrigerated trucks to keep the cold air from escaping while the trucks are being loaded or unloaded.

Refrigerated rooms come with six temperature zones, including a freezer with extra insulation.

“We got the advice of our air conditioning mechanical engineers and they over-spec’ed it with the best refrigeration equipment available today to keep the cold chain process where it should be,” Collins said.

Collins Bros. still has its previous 60,000-square-foot facility, which it uses for retail, plus an off-site location.

“Much like other markets in the Southeast, our market was getting a little old and tired, and we were investing a lot of money in keeping it clean and(maintained). There comes a time where it’s better to tear it down and start over. And I don’t say that easily,” Collins said.

The company had outgrown its previous digs for a long time, he said.

“It’s been encouraging. I have to give a lot of commendations to the state for their partnership on this,” he said.

“They were really good to work with all the way through. Gary Black and his whole team doing a tremendous job. This is just one of the attributes of some of their good work.”

Nickey Gregory Co. moved into a new warehouse, from Building N to M, in February, which doubled its space, said Andrew Scott, director of business development and marketing.

The company’s Family Fresh Foods processing division is in its second year, doing fresh-cut produce for its customer base and other foodservice companies, he said.

Also at the market, All Seasons Fresh Produce almost doubled its space in Building P to about 24,000 square feet, moving in at the end of March, said Matthew Moghaddam, general manager and chief financial officer.

The company added four more temperature zones, and all business is conducted on one floor.

“Now it’s much better. There’s more space for staging and storage, more office space, and it’s more comfortable and easier access to the office,” Moghaddam said. 

Georgia expands organic, local, greenhouse options
Atlanta’s farmers market is pulling out all the stops
Georgia agriculture market experts discuss state of Atlanta market