NEW YORK, March 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Six Bronx-based community organizations today voiced their support for online grocer FreshDirect as it works to resolve litigation standing in the way of its plans to build a state-of-the-art operations center in the South Bronx that will employ hundreds of local residents.
In a jointly signed amicus brief submitted to the Bronx Supreme Court, the groups – Bronx Chamber of Commerce, Green Bronx Machine, Health People, Sylvia Center, Fedcap Rehabilitation Services, and Millbrook Houses Residents Association – said they supported FreshDirect's relocation to the borough because of the company's commitment to creating 1,000 new jobs, increasing access to healthy foods for Bronx residents, and record of environmental responsibility.
"FreshDirect's relocation will bring much needed jobs and revenue to the Bronx," said Lenny Caro, CEO of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. "The company will substantially increase the volume of its purchases from Bronx suppliers and have a positive ripple effect throughout the community."
"Unemployment is well documented as a major contributor to chronic disease and far too many Bronxites suffer from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses as a result," said Chris Norwood, executive director of Health People: Community Preventive Health Institute, a South Bronx-based organization that helps residents in low-income communities lead the fight against chronic health problems. "FreshDirect's move to the Bronx will help fight chronic illnesses on two levels, decreasing unemployment and increasing availability of fresh, healthy foods."
"We are proud to have the support of so many community leaders in the Bronx," said Jason Ackerman, co-founder and CEO of FreshDirect. "We look forward to getting past this final hurdle so we can move forward with making the South Bronx our new home and creating 1,000 new jobs along the way."
Last year, FreshDirect announced a partnership with Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, and Borough President Diaz to invest $112.6 million to build a new headquarters at Harlem River Yard.
The move will enable FreshDirect to create 1,000 new jobs over the next ten years – at least one-third of which it has pledged will go to Bronx residents. FreshDirect has already begun to make good on this commitment, as about 25 percent of 300 positions filled by the company at the end of the year went to Bronx residents. Construction of the new headquarters will also create approximately 684 construction jobs.
FreshDirect has also announced a goal of transitioning to a 100 percent green transportation fleet over the next five years. FreshDirect has already ordered 10 electric delivery trucks from Bronx-based Smith Electric Vehicles.