Mann Packing Co. will have a new 12,000 square-foot warehouse expansion in place when produce shipments begin in Salinas, Calif., in April.

“It’s set up as more of a picking operation warehouse, with space for 800 pallets,” said Lorri Koster, vice president of marketing. It includes more staging space for trucks.

“Business is growing,” she said. “We’re doing a lot more private label business, so the warehouse SKU slots are increasing in number. Thus you need more of the racking systems to leverage that square footage.”

Those private labels include some big retailers.

“We used to have Mann broccoli,” Koster said. “Now we’ve got Mann, Walmart, Kroger (and) Safeway broccoli and they each need their own warehouse slots. Historically, produce docks just shoved full loads of one commodity in and said, ‘Bye-bye truck.’ Now the order systems are sophisticated enough that a customer can say a particular store wants certain layers of stuff.”

That trend allows prestaging to happen at the grower-shipper’s site instead of customers’ warehouses. The expansion allows Mann Packing to improve loading and truck turnaround times, Koster said.

It’s new construction added to an existing warehouse. The original building on Hansen Street in Salinas has seen changing fortunes since its 1982 construction.

“It was built basically to be a bunching shed for broccoli,” Koster said. “Then that moved out into the field and everyone in town called it the White Elephant. They said, ‘What’s Mann going to do with that big building?’ We started cutting up broccoli florets. This is our fourth expansion to the property and we’ve got at least three more on the drawing board.”

Mann Packing opens warehouse expansion

Mike Hornick

Bixby Ramsey, sales account executive, and Lorri Koster, vice president of marketing, visit Mann Packing’s 12,000 square-foot warehouse expansion in Salinas, Calif.