April 28, 2016
We're taking a trip back to Chattanooga, Tennessee in April, 1970 for this week's Epstein Throwback Thursday to cover the grand opening of T. Grady Parham Distribution Center for Red Food Stores. This 175,000 square foot office and grocery distribution center, named after the founder of Red Food Stores, served Red Food's 55 grocery stores throughout southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia and northeast Alabama.
This Epstein designed, engineered and constructed facility located at 5901 Shallowford Road provided 21,500 square feet of corporate office and management space, over 100,000 square feet of dry grocery storage, and nearly 50,000 square feet of freezers and coolers for Red Food's perishable items. In addition, the entire facility was designed to afford maximum space utilization and future expansion, which came into play 10 years later when we were asked to provide Design-Build services for a 96,000 square foot dry grocery addition.
Red Food, which was founded in 1908, operated under that name until 1995 when it was purchased by the Dutch grocery giant, Ahold for $129M. Ahold, then rebranded Red Food Stores into their BI-Lo name in 1995.
Ahold vacated this Epstein-designed facility in 2007 and it stayed empty until 2013 when it then became the home for Tranco Logistics, a third party provider of warehousing and transportation services. From Google street views it looks like the staggered, yet somehow rhythmic, masonry entrance has been modified with what can only be described as a mid-80s suburban mall vaulted canopy. It's not a good look, but at least the building is still standing and serving the distribution needs for clients in southeast Tennessee.