Cooper announces 125 jobs in Hickory as Merchants Distributors begins new expansion

Gov. Roy Cooper briefs media at the Emergency Operations Center in Raleigh. Photo via N.C. Dept. of Public Safety

HICKORY — Merchants Distributors, LLC (MDI), a wholesale grocery distributor founded in Hickory in 1931 will invest $35 million in a new expansion of its services and operations, creating 125 jobs, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Tuesday. The company anticipates adding approximately 250,000 square feet to its perishable capacity at its Caldwell County facilities. 

MDI and its parent company Alex Lee, Inc. were founded in Hickory, distributing both food and non-food grocery items to more than 600 retail stores across the United States and other locations.   

The company’s new project in Caldwell County will add perishable capacity to the company’s existing facility in Hickory, with the conversion of ambient space into space that can be chilled and maintained at a temperature of 34 degrees.

“This is a great day for Caldwell County and the City of Hickory,” said state Sen. Warren Daniel. “It’s great to see a local company like MDI take advantage of North Carolina’s strong business climate to grow its operations, and I applaud the company’s leaders and employees for spearheading this expansion.”

“I’m proud of the collaboration that made this project possible,” added state Rep. Destin Hall. “We are excited for the new jobs and investment that MDI will bring to Caldwell County.”