Charlotte-based A M King, an Integrated Design-Build firm with offices in Greenville, SC and Chicago, IL, has begun construction of a USDA-certified, greenfield cold distribution facility for Combs Wholesale Produce Company in Winston-Salem, NC. The 40,000-square-foot structure, which will replace the company’s original facility built in 1978, will allow Combs Wholesale Produce to move to a larger, more modern space and capitalize on its expanding product lines and customer base. The project is scheduled for completion by April 2021.
Founded in 1945, Combs Wholesale Produce Company is a full-service supplier of fresh produce, dry goods and nostalgic items such as old-fashioned candies and glass-bottle sodas. The company stocks more than 1,500 different local, regional and international items on site for distribution throughout the year. Customers include wholesalers and food service companies, grocery stores and retail markets across the Carolinas and Virginia. All products are also available direct to the consumer for “cash and carry” at competitive wholesale prices.
“Our current facility was built to sort and store tomatoes,” explained Ben Combs, Vice President, Combs Wholesale Produce Company. “As our customer base has changed, volume increased and we added additional products, we quickly ran out of room to handle the increased demand.”
While most new perishable facilities are constructed outside of cities, this facility will be built within the Winston-Salem city limits. It will be situated on 10.75 acres in the Brookwood Business Park off James Gold Memorial Expressway, adjacent to Piedmont Park and one mile from the Smith Reynolds Airport.
The design phase kicked off in March 2020, just as the coronavirus was beginning to spread in the United States. A M King’s close collaboration with the Owner via frequent online meetings proved more efficient than waiting to schedule in-person meetings.
Facility design highlights include creation of a unique conditioned dock for displaying and selling fresh produce to the public. Customers can back up their cars to the drive-through doors right off the parking lot for easy loading. Sanitary design measures included locating slot drains and sloped floors to eliminate standing water in produce storage areas. In addition, hot water and floor sinks were provided in the repacking area for regular washdown.
“We are thrilled to be working with Combs Wholesale Produce Company,” said Dan Crist, A M King Vice President of Operations. “As the majority of the facility is perishable, this is exactly the type of project that showcases our Design-Build expertise for food processing and food distribution facilities.”
During construction, A M King is enforcing new safety policies and procedures for infectious diseases in accordance with CDC and OSHA recommendations, as well as local and state requirements. Some of those include daily temperature checks, social distancing, use of masks and portable sanitation stations.
“My father, Benny and I have been pleased with the entire process so far,” said Ben Combs. “From initial meetings to concerns about layout and city regulations, to coordination with third-party vendors, the A M King team has been communicative and great to work with through all challenges, including COVID-19.”
The scope of work on this project includes seven refrigerated spaces that range from 36 to 60 degrees: dry storage ranging from 50 to 75 degrees; and 14 dock positions. The nearly 4,000-square-foot main office includes client entry; conference room; breakroom, restrooms and locker rooms; closed, open and flex offices with cubicles and millwork storage; maintenance area; and a command center/shipping and receiving area. The second floor is unfinished and will be used as storage until office expansion is needed in the future. Additional project highlights include utilizing a rack system for refrigeration, clear height 32’ for maximum product storage, and LED light fixtures.
About Combs Wholesale Produce Company – Founded in 1945, Combs Wholesale Produce Company is a full line produce distributor based in Winston-Salem, NC. The company serves a variety of clients including wholesalers, foodservice distributors, grocery stores and independent retailers throughout Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Combs Wholesale Produce Company provides value to customers through consolidated purchasing and delivery of more than 1,500 local, regional, and international items six days a week such as: fruits, vegetables, dried beans, peanuts, old-fashioned candy, eggs and country hams.
About A M King – A M King is an integrated Design-Build firm based in Charlotte, NC with offices in Greenville, SC and Chicago, IL. The firm consistently and successfully delivers quality projects throughout the United States. With an experienced team committed to protecting clients’ assets, the company provides property consulting, design and engineering, construction and facility services in the sectors of food processing, food distribution, industrial manufacturing and commercial properties. A M King’s exemplary track record demonstrates that the company is focused on its mission to be the best in the industry.