200 new jobs on the way to Knoxville

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Knoxville (WVLT) - It claims to be the global leader in delivering food products. Now Sysco Corporation has brought more than 200 new jobs to Knoxville.

The company's gearing up to open it's new north Knoxville distribution center, in the Old Coster Shop area.

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy was at the ribbon cutting.

This is expected to jolt Knoxville's economy. Sysco's plant sits in what used to be an abandoned railroad maintenance yard. It's in the I-275 business park. Nearby businesses say they already saw a boom during the plants construction. Now they're ready for it to open, and workers to start spending.

Sales have slumped at the Breeze Thru Market and Deli.

"It's down, it's down quite a bit," manager Greg Monroe said.

But help could be just down the road.

"Today's an historic day for the city of Knoxville," Sysco Knoxville CEO Tommy Dail said.

Sysco Food Services cut the ribbon for it's new 353,000 square foot North Knoxville Distribution Center. That means more than 200 new jobs and chunk of a 35 billion dollar business.

"Hopefully when they get the plant up in full swing we'll see more business again," Monroe said.

"We think we've already infused a lot of money into the local economy," Dail said.

Monroe says during construction his shop saw 30 percent more green.

"It's taken a part of our community that could use a little help and we've landed a great looking facility that's gong to expand over the years and help revitalize the entire area," Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale said.

But Sysco's trucks aren't new to Knoxville.

"We've been investing in this market a number of years with sales people and drivers to service our existing customers we currently have in the market place," Dail said.

The new plant means more frequent...and efficient business.

"Before our distribution has come in from Nashville and other operations so we've been trucking in for hundreds of miles," said Jim Graham from the Sysco Corporation.

Now the trucks...and the money...won't drive off.

"It's no secret to everybody that the economy's slowing up around the country. So people are competing harder for jobs. So when you get new jobs it's a reason to celebrate," Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam said.

This plant's become the prototype for all new Sysco Plants. State-of-the art robotics make storage faster and more accurate. Motion-activited lights bring more energy efficiency.

"We will continue to stay the course of investing our business," Dail said.

And indirectly investing...

"We got to keep going," Monroe said.

...down the road.

From day one there'll be around 250 plant employees. Sysco expects to grow that number significantly every year. The plant's set to begin operations May 12th. The next Sysco plant modeled after Knoxville's is already being built. That's happening in Texas.

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