When Blue Apron, a leading fresh meal kit delivery company based in New York City, announced last week that it has plans to expand its operations and employ over 2,000 people in New Jersey, it was great news for the state.
More of these announcements may be coming.
Michele Brown, CEO and president of Choose New Jersey, feels northern New Jersey can expect to see more openings of similar logistics and distribution facilities for e-commerce companies.
“You will continue to see the trend of e-commerce and food service companies locating in the northern part of the state to not only expand direct delivery to their customers, but also to have greater access to Manhattan,” she said.
Brown said she expects large companies such as Amazon, FedEx and UPS will follow suit.
“It is all about having access to their customer base,” she said.
According to Choose New Jersey, the privately-funded business attraction and retention arm of New Jersey, Blue Apron is one of many companies expanding fulfillment operations in New Jersey.
The reason, Brown said, is basic geography.
Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population also can be reached within two days from New Jersey via its transportation and rail infrastructure.
And then there’s this: New Jersey is in proximity to more than 22 million consumers who collectively have nearly $800 billion in disposable income is an obvious plus.
For those reasons, Brown sees more e-commerce companies taking a greater interest in the state.
And while Amazon was first, other sectors are coming on strong, she said.
“Particularly in food, we are seeing e-commerce moving into the northern part of the state,” Brown said.
After that, the trend is to move south, not north.
“Food manufacturers tend to want to open and expand in the middle and southern part of the state for many reasons,” Brown said.
“So, food affects New Jersey employment from the northernmost to the southernmost part of the state.”
And that’s one of the reasons for the good news for New Jersey.
Blue Apron expects to open a new 495,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Linden later this year. It already has a facility in Jersey City.
Could another be on the way, following a pattern by Amazon, which has opened numerous locations throughout the state?
So far, Blue Apron isn’t saying.
Matt Salzberg, co-founder and CEO of Blue Apron, didn’t address the issue and was not available for an interview. He did, however, release a statement.
“We’re excited to be expanding our presence in New Jersey and bringing full-time jobs to the Linden community,” he said.
“Our new fulfillment center will help improve the efficiency and capacity of our operations to meet strong customer demand.”
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead said the community is eager to welcome Blue Apron and the huge economic impact it will bring.
“We are thrilled that Blue Apron is investing in Linden with its new facility,” he said in a statement. “The company’s decision to come here will be a boost for our local economy, providing much-needed jobs to our area.
“We look forward to having Blue Apron as a partner in our community.”
In addition to the fulfillment center in Jersey City; Blue Apron also currently operates centers in Arlington, Texas, and Richmond, California.
An additional fulfillment center is planned for Fairfield, California, in 2018.
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