Atlanta fast-food supplier reviving dormant Jackson distribution center

Rendering: The Hawkins Field Business Center covers 115,700 square feet on 20 acres.

Rendering: The Hawkins Field Business Center covers 115,700 square feet on 20 acres.

JACKSON, Mississippi — A long vacant refrigeration and dry storage distribution center at Jackson’s Hawkins Field Industrial Park has a new owner that plans nearly $1 million in upgrades to the warehouse and the initial hiring of 30 warehouse workers and drivers.

Atlanta-based Customized Distributors LLC will grow to 50 workers over the next two years as it expands its market for supplying food products to multiple fast-foot chains throughout Mississippi, Memphis and New Orleans and the rest of Eastern Louisiana, said Bill Bartels, managing member of Customized Distributors.

“Several years ago we had a distribution center in Canton. So we’re very familiar with the area,” Bartels said.

The 115,700 square-foot facility situated on 20 acres at 4240 Industrial Drive will be join facilities in Atlanta and Jacksonville, Fla., as the company’s distribution centers.

Bartels expects it will take six to eight months to install new heavy freezers, coolers and racking and repair floors and renovate offices. Work is already under way on the distribution center, according to Bartels, who envisions a late July start up at the earliest.

Commercial real estate professionals who deal in industrial property around Jackson lament that the city’s positioning between New Orleans and Memphis makes it a poor candidate for distribution warehouses. Bartels said it was that geographic position that led the company to Jackson, however.

“In our case, Jackson is very strategically located. We love Jackson for that reason.”

About 10 percent of the distribution warehouse will remain unused and available for future expansion , according to Bartels.

The Overby Company of Jackson and Wildmor Realty of Atlanta represented Customized Distributors in the purchase of the former U.S. Foods property.

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