BRADENTON -- A new retail outlet and distribution warehouse built for Flowers Baking Co. near downtown Bradenton could start moving bread and snack products around the region by summer.
The building, recently completed at 720 9th St. E., is the newest addition to Bradenton's warehouse and manufacturing district. Built on 2.5 acres across the road from the entrance to Tropicana's massive orange juice processing plant, the Flowers building will serve both as a discount retail hub and a wholesale distribution center for baked goods re-sellers.
Flowers Baking Co. is a subsidiary of $3.8 billion Flowers Foods. The publicly traded, Thomasville, Ga. company operates 49 bakeries throughout the East Coast, the Southeast, the western U.S. and along the West Coast. Its major brands include Wonder Bread, Nature's Own, Tastykake, Home Pride and Mi Casa.
The new distribution hub is just a few miles north of a Flowers bakery operation along U.S. 301 in the Whitfield area. That 109,000-square-foot facility has its own discount retail storefront.
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The Bradenton facility has not yet opened, but is already branded with Flowers' Tastykake and Nature's Own logos. Plans on file with the city of Bradenton show that about 4,400 square feet of the building will be devoted to retail operations and office space. The remainder, 9,960 square feet, is warehouse and distribution space.
The warehouse features 16 truck docks. While seeking approval from the city last year to build the warehouse, Flowers representatives told Bradenton city council members that the facility is geared toward small delivery trucks.
Company officials at both Flowers' corporate headquarters and locally did not respond to requests to comment on the Bradenton facility or its opening date. Permit records show that city public works officials signed off on the project in early April.
JoMar Construction of Clearwater started building the cement block and steel building last August. A related company controlled by JoMar's owners had purchased the property for the project a few months earlier for $450,000.
Status Update, by business reporter Matt M. Johnson, is a regular look at the progress of construction projects throughout Manatee County. Follow Johnson on Twitter@MattAtBradenton.