In October 2014, Golden State Foods (GSF) opened the doors of its new 158,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in McCook, IL. The building is said to be the first LEED Gold-certified site in the McDonald’s system, serving more than 460 McDonald’s customers in the Chicago and northwest Indiana market and further enhancing GSF’s 45-plus-year partnership with McDonald’s.

“We are so proud to unveil our latest distribution center in Chicago,” says Mark Wetterau, chief executive officer. “The new building is a milestone in our larger goals toward environmental sustainability and excellent customer service, and will serve as a benchmark for future and existing facilities within the GSF distribution community.”

GSF invited Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Editor-in-Chief Marina Mayer, a supplement to Food Engineering, to tour the state-of-the-art facility, which replaces its former location in Lemont, IL and provides additional storage space, nearly 15,000 pallet positions and other sustainable features including:

  • Reduced diesel consumption with electric standby power for outbound trailers
  • Rainwater collected from the roof into a 40,000-gallon cistern to irrigate the facility’s natural landscaping
  • Operating an automated truck wash equipped with an auto-recovery system to minimize water consumption. This system implements hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative energy source for forklift and pallet jack equipment operation, replacing the use of traditional batteries and chargers.
  • Recycling or reusing 87 percent of the construction waste. No soil was removed from the construction site
  • Cooling the refrigeration and freezer with an energy-efficient ammonia CO2 cascade refrigeration system that uses non-ozone-damaging chemicals containing zero CFCs
  • Clear glass panels in the dry warehouse and insulated panels in the cooler for natural lighting, reducing dependency on electricity
  • Using a variable air ventilation system to circulate air three times an hour, improving air quality and helping to maintain a dust-free environment
  • Interior and exterior LED light fixtures and motion detectors to significantly reduce energy
  • Electric vehicle charging stations and designated fuel-efficient/alternative fuel vehicle parking
  • 65 percent recyclable carpeting, noise-deafening ceiling tiles, low-profile cubicles, shrink-contemplating concrete, a facility-wide security monitoring system, check-in room for drivers, hydration room, wrapping station that wraps three pallets at a time and vertical dock loaders.

The new center is ISO 14001 certified, employs 180 people and operates according to a robust set of standards that focus on GSF’s environmental management systems, sustainability and recycling programs, conservation, compliance and waste diversion. The new center is also home to a test kitchen, run by GSF Chef Glenn Lewis. The large onsite kitchen will engage GSF’s customers in the development of new products and ideas proposed by associates.

“We are truly impressed by GSF’s latest distribution center here in McCook,” says Bob Stewart, McDonald’s US field and supply chain services. “The sustainable features truly bring our values of being a good neighbor and partner to the community to reality. We look forward to our partnership with GSF and this facility, as we work to achieve our goals and deliver quality food, beverages and packaging.”

The new distribution center was built by McShane Construction Co., Rosemont, IL.