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Relay Foods Expands Its Richmond, Virginia, Fulfillment Center

Relay Foods will expand its Richmond, Virginia, fulfillment center to accommodate increased local demand for its products and to support the company’s entry into new markets, including those beyond Virginia.

The company, a leading online grocery store and farmers market, will invest more than $710,000, create 75 new jobs, and increase its Mid-Atlantic sales of Virginia-sourced meats, produce, dairy products, and value-added foods by $3 million over the next three years. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with the City of Richmond and Relay Foods on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund.

"One key to Relay Foods' success across Virginia has been establishing a network of talented, dedicated local producers in every market we serve," said Arnie Katz, Co-founder/President of Relay Foods. "We look forward to investing this AFID grant in our ongoing efforts to build innovative approaches that connect local Richmond growers and food artisans with enthusiastic customers."

Governor Terry McAuliffe said, “I am thrilled to announce the second expansion of Relay Foods, a company founded by entrepreneurs with unique and exciting business models. Relay Foods’ announcement today not only creates quality new job opportunities for residents of Richmond, it strengthens the ties this innovative company has to the Commonwealth. With this announcement we continue to realize the benefits of fully integrating agriculture and forestry, the state’s largest industries into our strategic economic development platform, helping to build a new Virginia economy.”

Relay Foods seamlessly integrates more than 200 local farmers and artisan, organic, and conventional producers to deliver high quality, local and gourmet foods and groceries directly to customers. The company offers a unique and powerful resource for small food producers in Virginia trying to access the market by providing ready access to consumers in the Washington, D.C., Richmond and Charlottesville metro areas. This second expansion will allow the company to further meet the growing demands of its consumers. In June, the Governor awarded a $50,000 AFID grant to the City of Charlottesville to assist Relay Foods in the expansion of its corporate headquarters and fulfillment center in Charlottesville.

"Relay Foods is not only increasing access to healthful foods, but also strengthening the Virginia agricultural economy,” the state’s First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe said. “I truly believe that innovative companies like these are what it will take to bridge the nutritional divide in Virginia."

“I am pleased to see the continued success of the AFID program working with rural and urban localities, such as Richmond, and businesses such as Relay Foods, a company that is so focused on promoting Virginia’s fresh, locally-sourced agricultural products, to create jobs at its fulfillment center and new revenue streams for our growers,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “This project will allow Relay Foods to enjoy an even wider reach to markets where the exposure of Virginia-grown products will increase and Virginia’s agricultural producers will continue to benefit from new sales opportunities.”

The company, in partnership with Virginia and Richmond, will invest in updates to its primary warehouse, as well as a new warehouse it plans to build in 2016. The Richmond fulfillment center is the main location for the aggregation, storage, packaging and distribution of all local Virginia meat, cheese and dairy products. These improvements will strengthen the company’s competitive position in the fast-growing online grocery market.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the City of Richmond to secure this expansion for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist the City of Richmond with the project. Relay Foods is also committing to purchase at least $406,000 worth of meats, produce, dairy products and other foods from Virginia producers over the next three years. Through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, Relay Foods will receive additional funding and services to support its training and retraining activities.

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