Building Fresh for the Future
by Nelson Longenecker, Vice President of Business Innovation at Four Seasons Family of Corporations
“Our customers are growing, and so are we,” stated Jason Hollinger, CEO. “As we help our associates and customers succeed, we are able to grow together.”
The 2022 expansion was launched to better support our team and our customers, using designs and materials that reduce waste and energy use. It was carefully engineered to increase the company’s supply chain capabilities, flexibility, and capacity. A key design principle was to provide flex space and a variety of room conditions to complete the fresh product cold chain – and more fully support the company’s mission of “Helping Others Succeed in Fresh”. This will enable efficient and sustainable distribution of fresh produce and perishable food in the Northeast for many years to come.
David Hollinger founded Four Seasons Produce in 1976 to supply produce to local markets, and the family business is now under the second-generation leadership of Jason Hollinger. Today, it is a full-service wholesale distributor of organic, local, and conventional produce and other fresh foods, serving customers in more than a dozen states. The Family of Companies includes a growers’ representative, a refrigerated fleet, and a logistics provider. The combined companies employ almost 900 associates and will ship approximately 28 million cases in 2022.
The company has dramatically reduced its energy and water consumption over the past 15 years, and this addition builds on that successful record. An expanded rooftop solar array planned for 2023 – combined with a 2018 array – will produce over 20% of the total building electrical needs.
The expansion was designed with sustainability in mind, including a more efficient refrigeration system, an enhanced building envelope with a white roof, energy-efficient lithium-ion electric material handling equipment and full LED lighting with motion sensors. According to Randy Groff, director of facilities and energy, “When we designed this facility, the engineers projected higher efficiencies,” says “The early results have surpassed even those expectations.” Cooling costs per square foot are already trending 20% lower than the original building.
Beyond the design efficiencies already evident in the expansion, the company continues to pursue additional projects made possible by technology. This includes redesigning the original refrigeration piping, a project slated for completion soon with an expected payback of less than 4 years.
Four Seasons’ commitment to sustainability creates a solid foundation for the future. Doing business to ensure we are relevant and sustainable to future generations is very energizing – for our team and our customers. It raises the standard that we hold ourselves to – and attracts them to a company that benefits the community and the environment. Our people can be focused on the best way to serve our customers, knowing that we are also looking to reduce our footprint and use fewer resources in an energy intense business. Everyone wants to be part of something that is mindful of the impact on our children and grandchildren.
“Our team is so committed to our customers and to each other. There’s an energy and excitement about fresh produce and for serving produce growers and retailers – we thrive on it. It’s very fulfilling to be involved in providing the healthiest, most flavorful, and beautiful food God gave us. Ultimately, our greater purpose as a family business is to be a blessing as we are blessed,” Hollinger continues. “And as a locally owned business, we will keep investing in our associates and our community.”
Vice President – Business Innovation
Four Seasons Family of Corporations
This article was first printed in our December 2022 Edition of Thriving Magazine. You can read more here: Lancaster Chamber Thriving Magazine