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Nash Finch Closing Cedar Rapids Distribution Center

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa A northeast Cedar Rapids food distribution center that has operated since 1974 will be closing at the end of the year.

Nash Finch on Friday said customers of the 358,500-square-foot facility at 1201 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE will be "transitioned" to the company's distribution centers in Omaha, Neb., and St. Cloud, Minn.

"Combining the volume handled by Cedar Rapids into the other distribution centers will allow for increased efficiency and additional product selection for our Cedar Rapids customers," Nash Finch said in a statement announcing its decision.

Nash Finch said the closing will affect "less than 50 associates" involved with warehouse, office and fleet maintenance.

"I want to thank all of our associates in Cedar Rapids for their many years of service," said Alec Covington, Nash Finch president and chief executive officer. "It is never an easy decision to close a facility but in order to best serve our customers this is a necessary move."

Nash Finch owns 15.9 acres of land along Blairs Ferry Road NE where the distribution center is located. The property is served by a railroad spur that was built in 1967.

Nash Finch said it has no immediate plans for the property following the closure on Dec. 31.

The closing of the distribution center is the latest chapter in Minneapolis-based Nash Finch's history in Cedar Rapids.

On Nov. 18, 2006, Nash Finch closed its last Econofoods store in Cedar Rapids at 2100 Edgewood Rd. SW. The 65,284-square-foot store opened in June 2000, creating about 160 jobs.

Two year earlier, Nash Finch closed a 103,000-square-foot Econofoods store at 1800 51st St. NE. Facing fierce competition from grocery discount stores, Nash Finch had been closing stores for several years.

At one time, Nash Finch also operated SunMart stores in the Cedar Rapids-Marion area. They also have closed in recent years.

Nash Finch has continued to supply independent grocers like Jim's Foods at 812 Sixth St. SW. The company is the second-largest, publicly-traded wholesale food distributor in the United States, in terms of revenue, serving the retail grocery industry and the military commissary and exchange systems.

Annual sales are approximately $5 billion.

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