Due to growth, Southeast Pet has expanded its Austell, Ga., and Lakeland, Fla., distribution centers. The new Georgia facility gives the company approximately 50-percent more warehouse space, as well as a newly built drive-in freezer. The Florida facility will also grow by approximately 50 percent by taking on adjacent warehouse space at its current location.
“The fact is, in all my years of being an independent distributor, I’ve never felt better about the strength of our retailers and the future of this industry,” Greg Judge, CEO and owner of Southeast Pet, said in a letter to retailers. “Apparently, there are many investors that feel the same way I do. We’ve all seen the tremendous amount of consolidation on the distribution side of the business.
“As you might have guessed, Southeast Pet has been approached on numerous occasions. Although the offers were intriguing, none of those offers included Southeast Pet remaining Southeast Pet. In every instance, my company would be closed and the business consolidated. Most of the 80-plus team members, many with 20 to 30 years of experience, would be out of work. This is not what I had in mind for a business that I’ve devoted more than half of my life to building.
“I believe that Southeast Pet has an outstanding opportunity,” Judge continued. “Who better to understand the needs of the independent retailer than the independent distributor? So, there you have it. Instead of riding off into the sunset, I’m doubling down on this business with a new facility in Lakeland, Fla., a new larger facility here in Austell, Ga., and a considerable investment in our infrastructure to better serve you, our retailer.”