​​Coffee maker opens East Coast hub in Suffolk

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2022

In the self-described caffeine capital of Virginia, Massimo Zanetti Beverage is brewing itself even more into the city’s proverbial coffee cup with the opening of its 355,933-square-foot distribution center in the Equus Capital Partners’ Virginia Port Logistics Park.

Massimo Zanetti himself made the trip from Italy to cut the ribbon on the new facility Tuesday, and was there along with other company and city officials hailing its expanded presence in Suffolk. The facility will serve as the company’s East Coast distribution center and e-commerce fulfillment and is a strategic investment in its distribution operations for multiple coffee brands.

“I’m very proud today to open this new warehouse facility here in the United States,” Zanetti said through chief financial officer and translator Leonardo Rossi. “We started operating in the U.S. 16 years ago. It has been a continuous growth of the business, and for this, I am very thankful for the opportunity that this country, the United States, which is very near to my heart, has provided to my group.”

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Zanetti took a tour of his facility, getting a look at everything from the real-time operator updates telling employees at all times where the product, the trucks and where orders have been staged, to the different areas of the warehouse where it stores the company’s product as it is prepped for distribution.

The facility has been close to two years in the making, as the company announced in June 2020 it would build a distribution center at the Virginia Port Logistics Park, investing $17.5 million in the building, along with an additional $800,000 investment in the equipment, which came through an investment grant through the Economic Development Investment Program. The company said it planned to invest at least $800,000 in operating equipment and other personal property and infrastructure.

The terms of the agreement between the company and the city stipulated that the company would receive the grant money after it received the certificate of occupancy from the city, and after the city’s Economic Development department and the city’s Commissioner of the Revenue have verified the value of the company’s equipment, which needed to take place no later than Dec. 31, 2021.

From the time it broke ground to the time it opened, it took about 15 months for Massimo Zanetti-USA’s distribution center to become operational when it opened in November, but due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the company postponed grand opening activities until Tuesday.

MZB-USA president and CEO John Boyle said the distribution center came together in spite of challenges due to COVID-19 and supply chain issues.

“The city of Suffolk and the Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance were instrumental in making this happen,” Boyle said. “They helped us in making the decision to open our distribution center here just 10 miles from our headquarters (off) Wilroy Road.”

Doug Nesmith, MZB-USA senior vice president of supply chain, said the new facility positions the company for greater efficiencies and continued growth while adding to the city’s economic vitality.

He said its Suffolk distribution center has six distinct missions – supporting its nearby manufacturing plant, national distribution, consolidation and mixing, value-added activities like grocery store-style displays, equipment benchtop testing and repair, e-commerce and customer distribution.

“As you can imagine, a team that can accomplish and manage those activities with zero disruption over 18 months,” Nesmith said, “shutting down two facilities, opening up a third in the middle of COVID and with a globally-stressed supply chain, the fact that they can do that with no disruption is absolutely incredible, fantastic, in fact.”

Massimo Zanetti Beverage-USA currently imports green coffee through the Port of Virginia and takes it to its main manufacturing plant off of Progress Road, where it roasts, grinds and packages its own brands.

“Your continued investment in our city,” said Mayor Mike Duman, “will add substantially to our economic vitality by providing jobs and revenue.”