Leading online grocer Relay Foods to invest $735,000, increase sales of Virginia-sourced agricultural products by $3 million over next three years
Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced today in the City of Charlottesville that Relay Foods will expand its corporate headquarters and Charlottesville fulfillment center to accommodate increased local demand for its products and to support the company’s entry into new markets, including those beyond Virginia.
The company, a leading online grocery store and farmers market, will invest more than $735,000, create 25 new jobs in the city, and increase its mid-Atlantic sales of Virginia-sourced meats, produce, dairy products and value-added foods by $3 million over the next three years. The Commonwealth of Virginia is partnering with Charlottesville and Relay Foods on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID).
“We continue to realize the benefits of fully integrating agriculture and forestry into the state’s strategic economic development platform,” said McAuliffe. “Relay Foods’ announcement today not only creates quality new job opportunities for residents of Charlottesville, it strengthens the ties that this innovative and fast-growing company has to the Commonwealth. Supporting entrepreneurs with unique and exciting business models is another way for Virginia to grow and diversify our economy, especially with the variety of agricultural producers across the Commonwealth.”
Relay Foods seamlessly integrates more than 200 local farmers and artisan, organic and conventional producers to deliver high quality, local and gourmet foods and groceries directly to customers. The company offers a unique and powerful resource for small food producers in Virginia trying to access the market by providing ready access to consumers in the Washington, D.C., Richmond and Charlottesville metro areas. This expansion will allow the company to further meet the growing demands of its consumers.
“I am pleased to see the continued success of the AFID program working with localities and businesses such as Relay Foods, a company that is so focused on promoting Virginia’s fresh, locally-sourced agricultural products, to create new jobs at its operations and new revenue streams for our growers,” said Todd Haymore, secretary of agriculture and forestry. “This project will allow Relay Foods to enjoy an even wider reach to markets where the exposure of Virginia-grown products will increase and Virginia’s agricultural producers will continue to benefit from new sales opportunities.”
The company, in partnership with Virginia and Charlottesville, will invest in updates to its Charlottesville corporate facility and fulfillment center, the main location for the aggregation, storage, packaging and distribution of all local Virginia meat, cheese and dairy products. These improvements will strengthen the company’s competitive position in the fast-growing online grocery market.
“Relay Foods has rapidly developed a new approach to putting food on the table here in Charlottesville and beyond,” said Charlottesville mayor Satyendra Singh Huja. “We are proud of the company’s success and its ability to deliver innovation to the marketplace.”
Gov. McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from AFID to assist the city with this project. Relay Foods is also committing to purchase at least $350,000 worth of meats, produce, dairy products and other foods from Virginia producers over the next three years. Through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, Relay Foods will receive additional funding and services to support its training and retraining activities.
“At Relay Foods, our goal is to strengthen the local food economy in every community we serve, and we have been able to grow and thrive in Virginia based on our strong partnerships with producers across the state,” said Zach Buckner, co-founder and CEO of Relay Foods. “We look forward to using this AFID grant to continue exploring innovative ways to connect our customers with the fresh and local foods produced by Virginia growers and artisans.”
According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually. Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry induces over $17 billion. The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.