JaxUSA Partnership Success Stories

A Natural Expansion: KeHE’s Journey of Innovation and Growth in the Jacksonville Region

KeHE, a leading distributor of fresh, specialty, natural and organic foods, has established a significant footprint in the Jacksonville region over the last few years. Known for its extensive network of nineteen warehouses nationwide, KeHE’s strategic decision to expand to the First Coast is driven by several key factors that make the region uniquely suited for its growth and operational needs.

The company’s acquisition of Tree of Life was a pivotal milestone that combined two robust distribution networks, creating a nationwide platform poised for growth. This strategic move has enabled KeHE to leverage the consistent population growth in Northeast Florida, driving an increase in food consumption and establishing a solid customer base deeply rooted in the market.

Jacksonville stands out among other regions thanks to its exceptional quality of life, attracting talent from within and outside the market. “The area’s pro-business mindset, excellent infrastructure and favorable tax structure provide a conducive environment for business growth,” says Chris Sieburg, EVP of Operations at KeHE. He highlighted these factors as crucial elements that support KeHE’s thriving operations in the region.

KeHE’s commitment to innovation is driven by the evolving needs of its partners. The company continually seeks to enhance its offerings through technological advancements such as robotics and other efficiency-boosting tools. This focus on innovation ensures that KeHE remains at the forefront of the food distribution industry, meeting the dynamic demands of today’s consumers.

Jacksonville’s robust talent pool is a significant asset for KeHE. The region’s career progression opportunities, especially within the warehousing sector, align with KeHE’s culture of promoting from within. The company’s call center in Jacksonville further underscores the availability of a skilled workforce, essential for its diverse operational needs, including IT, sales and customer care.

KeHE is deeply committed to community involvement, as evidenced by its KeHE Cares Foundation, which allocates a portion of the company’s profits to partner organizations that assist marginalized communities globally. The company’s employees actively participate in local initiatives such as City Rescue Mission, Three Grains of Rice, and Blessings in a Backpack. This hyperlocal service approach is driven by the employees’ passions, ensuring meaningful engagement with the community.

Looking ahead, KeHE is set to expand its operations in Northeast Florida significantly. A new warehouse, scheduled to open in June 2025, will more than double the company’s capacity. This state-of-the-art facility will feature advanced robotics, bulk rooms, and protein rooms, enhancing efficiency and supporting future growth. The demographics of Florida and the growth of KeHE’s customers are expected to drive continued expansion, further solidifying Jacksonville as a critical hub for the company.

KeHE’s strategic presence on the First Coast is a testament to the region’s conducive business environment, rich talent pool and strong community ties. As the company continues to grow and innovate, it remains committed to making a positive impact both within the industry and the local community.