Interchange develops food-grade warehouses

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Interchange expects its Hampton Roads facility to begin
operation by the end of next year. Photo courtesy Interchange Group

Harrisonburg-based Interchange Group is acquiring a 13-acre site in the Hampton Roads area within 15 miles of the ports. The third-party logistics provider hopes to have a food-grade warehouse in operation by the end of next year. That timeframe would coincide with the completion of the Panama Canal expansion, a project that will double capacity of that trade route. 

The new facility “will give us the ability to consolidate operations in that area and provide better service for import and export,” says Terry Cunningham, Interchange’s sales manager.

The company currently has 14 facilities with a total of 1.6 million square feet of warehouse space in Waynesboro, Front Royal, Winchester and Harrisonburg/Rockingham County. Interchange also has a trucking operation, Interchange Express, in Suffolk that transports containers from Hampton Roads ports to locations in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic region.

Interchange’s business is divided equally between providing logistical services and leasing warehouse space. It has domestic and international customers. “We have one Canadian company that handles the repackaging of fruits and vegetables under the Welch’s brand,” Cunningham says, noting that Hershey’s is also a customer.

In addition to its warehouses, the company has two pad-ready sites available for development. Construction on a 126,000-square-foot building on a site across from the company’s existing facility in Front Royal should be completed by the end of summer 2016. Another site at an existing property in Lyndhurst is available for a 204,000-square-foot facility.

“We are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to having land available to build on,” Cunningham says. “We have most of the infrastructure ready to go, and it’s zoned appropriately. If a client comes to us and says they would like to have a building, we can typically get a building up in 10 to 12 months.”

Almost all the company’s buildings are food-grade facilities. Some are equipped for a combination of temperatures. “We adhere to protocols that allow them to store food-grade packaging materials, products and ingredients as well as nonfood-related products,” Cunningham says.

The temperature in the company’s frozen-food warehouse spaces, for example, can go as low as minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, while its heated spaces, which store products such as coconut and chocolate paste, can be kept at more than 90 degrees.

In the last 10 years the need for temperature-controlled space has grown rapidly, Cunningham says. “We have a niche market in assisting those companies that need to have temperature-controlled space along the I-81 corridor,” he says. “In the last three years when we develop additional space, it has been geared toward temperature-controlled space.”

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