CBI – Cheney Brothers Expanding to Bring 380 Jobs to SWFL
Leading Independent Food Distributor Purchases 35 Acres in Charlotte County for 250,000 square-foot Distribution Center
Cheney Brothers Incorporated (CBI), Florida’s largest and the South’s fastest growing Independent Broadline Hospitality Distributors has recently signed contracts to bring a 250,000 square foot, $100 million distribution center to Punta Gorda in Charlotte County that will service the entire west coast of Florida from North Tampa to Marco Island in 2013-2014.
Founded in 1925, Cheney Brothers has grown from a distributor of milk and eggs into one of the largest Food Service Distributors in the South and is still owned by the same family. Byron Russell, grandson of Founder Joe Cheney is the CEO at Cheney Brothers.
“This is exciting for everybody,” Cheney Brothers President and CEO Bill Foley said. “We were looking at sites that would be able to service our customers up and down the coastline, and this was right in the middle. “We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with Charlotte County. Everyone in county government has been very helpful throughout the process”.
Today, Cheney Brothers inventories over 15,000 items with yearly revenues exceeding one billion dollars. Southwest Florida is well serviced currently by CBI from their Riviera Beach Florida headquarters, and the The Punta Gorda plant would be the third in Florida with an additional warehouse in Ocala and the company also owns a specialized beef
facility in Orlando.
“We just rallied support for them, because obviously we want those jobs here,” said Chris Evans, director of operations for Smuggler’s Restaurants and Bars.
Evans said at least a third of their stock comes from Cheney Brothers. Evans said that percentage will be
higher at the end of existing contracts with Sysco lapse.
Sysco is a global food distributor that used to be the primary option for Southwest Florida eateries and Cheney is independent and provides options in selection and pricing. With Cheney bringing jobs to Charlotte County and dumping millions into the local economy, though, Evans said he and his partner Bruce Laishley are spreading the Cheney
“You’ve got a company investing $110 million dollars in a community… and the whole community has been very
supportive and very eager to work with Cheney Brothers,” Laishley said.
“This project is a business gain for Florida, as well as Charlotte County” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. “Cheney Brothers’ growth sets the stage for positive economic effects this new distribution center will create”.
Part of Cheney’s commitment is that its average wage at the Punta Gorda center will be $36,000, about one-sixth above average county wages. Commissioners touted the deal as the single largest job generator in county history and praised all parties involved.
“This is the biggest economic development project we’ve had in Charlotte County,” said Charlotte County Commissioner Tricia Duffy. “Cheney’s operation will involve high-technology distribution, so that besides typical administrative jobs and fork-lift operators, there will be managers and information technology staff”, Duffy said in explaining the above-average wages.
Commissioners earlier this month approved an economic incentive package that will allow Cheney
Brothers to forgo about $1.2 million in property taxes over the next decade to build the distribution center
— pumping $5.8 million back into the local economy over that time, according to county estimates.
Cheney Brothers also plans to pursue state incentives under the Brownfield redevelopment program,
which could give the company up to $2,500 for every job created.
The company’s $2.5 million bid was the only offer on the table for the 35 acres, which is located at 6551
Airport Road — directly behind the county jail and public safety complex. The site was known as “FEMA
Village” for the thousands of residents who set up temporary housing there following Hurricane Charley.
“These are extremely tough economic times, and anything to promote job growth in our community will
be welcomed with open arms,” new Charlotte Commission Chairman Chris Constance said. “A lot of the incentives are paid on the back end and there’s requirements written into the contract to prevent a situation like
Publix, which bought land from the airport but never built.”
Cheney Brothers has added staff in recent weeks in Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties and continues to grow market share in Southwest Florida.
Short URL: http://www.beverageunderground.com/?p=32133