Increase Sales of Virginia-Sourced Agricultural Products by $3 Million Over Next Three Years
Relay Foods (www.relayfoods.com) will expand its Richmond fulfillment center to accommodate increased local demand for its products and to support the companys 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 in the City, 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 Governors Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).
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.
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 companys competitive position in the fast-growing online grocery market.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) 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.
"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 and 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."
With agriculture being Virginias largest industry, we need to do all we can to facilitate more growth opportunities in this increasingly important economic sector and thats what were doing today, said Senator John Watkins, R-Midlothian. Relay Foods is a great example of the type of company my General Assembly colleagues and I envisioned supporting when we approved the creation of the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund. Providing economic development opportunities for the City of Richmond and the Commonwealth through their innovative business model and their agricultural producer supply chain is a testament to the success of this tool.
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginias largest industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth. More information about the Weldon Cooper Centers study can be found at http://www.dof.virginia.gov/print/econ/2013/weldon-cooper-Economic-Impact-Of-Ag-Forestry-2013.pdf.
About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund
The AFID Fund was created during the 2012 session of the General Assembly and is being embraced by the McAuliffe Administration as an important tool in growing the Commonwealths agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia the leading exporter of agricultural and forest products on the East Coast. More information about the AFID grant, which has the flexibility to assist projects large and small throughout Virginia, can be found at http://www.vdacs.virginia.gov/agribusiness/afid.shtml.