Food-bank supplier leases warehouse space in Valley

Journal of Business

By Mike McLean

Northwest Harvest opens fourth distribution center to serve state’s food banks

SPOKANE, WA- Northwest Harvest, a Seattle nonprofit food distributor to 300 food banks statewide, says it has leased 13,600 square feet of warehouse space at Spokane Business & Industrial Park, which will help it improve its services here.

Shelley Rotondo, the agency’s executive director, says Northwest Harvest has distributed food to Spokane-area outlets involved in hunger-relief efforts for about five years, and the newly leased warehouse space, at 3808 N. Sullivan, in Spokane Valley, provides a centralized distribution point here.

Northwest Harvest also has distribution centers in Kent, Yakima, and Aberdeen, Wash.

Rotondo says Northwest Harvest distributed 541,000 pounds of food in the Spokane area in the nonprofit’s fiscal year ending June 30. In the months since then, the agency has been running 10 percent ahead of its distribution pace here in the year-earlier period, she says.

“The warehouse will make us more efficient,” she says. “It will enable us to increase what we do here.”

The warehouse has two loading docks, and a refrigerated truck will be based at one of them for cold storage, she says.

More than 75 percent of the food distributed by Northwest Harvest is donated, and Northwest Harvest buys the rest in bulk at discounted prices, Rotondo says.

Northwest Harvest isn’t affiliated with Spokane-based Second Harvest Food Bank of the Inland Northwest, a longtime nonprofit that operates an 85,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center at 1234 E Front and distributes food to more than 300 food banks and charitable services in the INland Northwest.

“We overlap in that we’re both distributors,” Rotondo says. Some hunger programs get food from both Northwest Harvest and Second Harvest, she says.

“I think people get more food because both are out there,” Rotondo says, adding, “No hunger programs get more food than they can use.”

Dean Stuart, of Crown West Realty LLC, and Gary Kuster, of Windermere Real Estate/Valley Inc., handled the Northwest Harvest lease here.