Kroger on Wednesday broke ground on its first high-tech fulfillment center in Monroe. The automated warehouse with digital and robotic capabilities is expected to generate more than 400 new jobs.
The Cincinnati-based grocery store is teaming with a British company to open the "shed," as it's called, which will be a model for other such facilities across the U.S.
"Kroger is joining with the best partners in the world to co-innovate and leverage technology to redefine the customer experience," says Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO. "We are incredibly excited to partner with Ocado [an online grocery store based in the U.K.] to transform the industry and deliver on our 'Restock Kroger' vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift."
A news release says the customer fulfillment center will be replicated to provide customers with anything, anytime and anywhere. Kroger plans to open 20 such warehouses nationally.
"Kroger is committed to helping position Cincinnati and Ohio as a destination for digital and technology talent," the release states. "We are proud to choose our HQ state of Ohio as the first location for this first-of-its-kind customer fulfillment center in the U.S."
Gov. Mike DeWine echoed that sentiment in a statement issued Wednesday, calling Ohio "a premier destination for businesses to grow." "This is a state-of-the-art facility that represents the intersection of Ohio's budding tech and food sectors and the next step in advancing Kroger customers' shopping experiences," he said.
Kroger is investing $55 million to build the first shed, which will measure 335,000-square feet. The site is located on Hamilton Lebanon Road, and Kroger expects to open the facility by 2021.
This story was originally posted Nov. 19, 2018 and has been updated.