Project Need: A local food distributor—A.F. Wendling’s—experienced rapid growth and quickly outgrew their existing 27,000 square foot facility in Buckhannon, WV. A.F. Wendling’s partnered with the Upshur County Development Authority and applied for and received an Appalachian Regional Commission grant in the amount of $757,500.00 to purchase and renovate an empty warehouse in Buckhannon to provide enough space for AFW to utilize. Construction began in 2005 and was completed in July 2007.
Our Role – Project Development and Administration: The Region VII Planning & Development Council, the Local Development District, was instrumental in contributing to the success of this project. Region VII provided all of the project development and administrative services, such as completing the funding applications and providing all correspondence requested by the appropriate agencies. Region VII also managed the project during the construction phase.
Project Impact:Before expansion, AFW had 20 employees and revenues of approximately $5,000,000.00. As a result of this project, AFW was able to open a new retail store without relocating outside the region to add over 65 jobs to the area while increasing sales to over $26 million a year. With this grant, Wendling’s was able to improve business processes and systems that are key to staying competitive and allow for reinvestments in the business. An investment in training and technology led to annualized savings of over $200,000 in increased efficiencies and productivity, allowing the company to operate more profitably and to pass the cost savings on to their loyal customers.
From humble beginnings in Charleston, WV to over 100 years later, A.F. Wendling’s has grown to become the largest independent family-owned and operated broad line food service distributor in West Virginia – serving the Mountain State and border markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Wendling’s stocks over 7,000 products (with access to over 28,000) including fresh seafood, produce, dairy items, and a growing line of non-foods products including paper, chemicals, and more.
To learn more about A.F. Wendling’s, please visit http://www.afwendling.com/