United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) says it intends to significantly expand its footprint in Rhode Island, with plans to hire 100 new full-time employees by the end of 2018 and a total of 150 new full-time employees by 2020.
The Providence-based natural, organic and specialty foods and nonfood distributor currently has more than 450 employees in the state. In all, the company employs 9,800 people and operates 34 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada.
“We’ve long been proud that UNFI calls Rhode Island home, and today we’re pleased that it’s decided to grow here,” said Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo. “The business climate we’ve worked to foster over the past couple of years is one that’s mutually beneficial for businesses and our residents, and we’re careful to ensure that the opportunities we create pay off in both the short and long terms.”
UNFI is working toward a long-term lease at a Providence metro-area site and anticipates investments in the property to accommodate the new employees. UNFI says it intends to apply for tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Act program.
“UNFI is an outstanding social enterprise, and we’re proud that the company has such an important and growing presence in Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. “UNFI is a terrific addition to the list of existing Rhode Island companies that, with support from our economic incentives, are expanding right here in our state.”
Based on third-party analysis, the 150 new jobs are projected to realize a projected net increase of $4.8 million in personal income, sales and corporate business tax revenues over a 12-year period, according to UNFI, adding that the state’s GDP should expect an increase of $9.7 million once all 150 hires are in place.
“We look forward to expanding our presence in Rhode Island with the opening of our shared services center, which will enable us to drive greater efficiencies and improve the customer experience as we further simplify and standardize our supplier and customer interactions,” said UNFI President, CEO and Board Chairman Steven L. Spinner. “At UNFI, our people are our most valued asset, and we are committed to working with our associates to ensure a smooth transition as we position UNFI for continued growth.”