Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery store chain, has broken ground on a high-tech customer fulfillment center in Frederick, Maryland.
It’s Kroger’s first expansion into the Washington and Baltimore region for home delivery.
Kroger has no physical stores in the D.C. area, and has no plans for any in the near future.
Kroger owns the Harris Teeter grocery chain, which has several stores in the D.C. region, though the Frederick distribution center will not be affiliated with those stores.
The build-out of the 350,000-square-foot customer fulfillment center, at 71906 Geoffrey Way in Frederick, will take 24 months to complete, and it will eventually employ as many as 500 workers.
The facility will be highly automated.
Kroger partnered with U.K.-based fulfillment automation company Ocado Solutions in 2018 to expand its e-commerce business. Ocado opened its first U.S. office in Tysons, Virginia earlier this year.
Ocado customer fulfillment centers use robotic technology to fulfill online grocery orders.
The Frederick fulfillment center is being built at a former Toys R Us distribution center that closed in 2018.
The video below shows how robots fulfill orders in Ocado Solutions customer fulfillment centers: