Merchants Distributors announces $35 million expansion in Caldwell County


North Carolina Construction News staff writer

Merchants Distributors LLC, a wholesale grocery distributor founded in Hickory in 1931 will invest $35 million in a 250,000 sq. ft. expansion at its Caldwell County facilities.

“Businesses that call North Carolina home continue to thrive here,” said Governor Cooper. “MDI knows firsthand the workforce, business and quality of life advantages North Carolina offers and it is great to see them grow once again in our state.”

MDI and its parent company Alex Lee, Inc. have headquarters in Hickory, distributing both food and non-food grocery items to more than 600 retail stores across the United States and other locations.

The company’s new project in Caldwell County will add perishable capacity by converting ambient space into space that can be chilled and maintained at a temperature of 34 degrees.

“Hickory, North Carolina has been our home for over ninety years, and we are excited to support our continued growth with another expansion at our Caldwell County facilities in the city of Hickory,” said Brian George, chairman and CEO of Merchants Distributors.

“As our business continues to grow, demand for perishable products has increased the need for chilled warehouse space to service our customers and communities. North Carolina continues to support business growth and invest in workforce development which makes expanding at this location possible.”

The project will be facilitated, in part, by a Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) approved by the state’s Economic Investment Committee. Using a formula that considers new tax revenues generated by the new jobs, the agreement authorizes the potential reimbursement to the company of up to $1,079,000, spread over 12 years. JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company.

“This is a great day for Caldwell County and the City of Hickory,” said N.C. Senator Warren Daniel. “It’s great to see a local company like MDI take advantage of North Carolina’s strong business climate to grow its operations, and I applaud the company’s leaders and employees for spearheading this expansion.”


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