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Digi-Key prepares for grand opening of new Product Distribution Center

The company started the Product Distribution Center expansion, a $400 million project, with a groundbreaking in fall 2017.

Digi-Key August 2022.jpg
A photo of the exterior of Digi-Key, a business in Thief River Falls, in August 2022.
Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald
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THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. – Digi-Key Electronics is celebrating the completion of its new Product Distribution Center.

A grand opening ceremony, by invitation only, is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 17, at the company’s headquarters in Thief River Falls.

The company started the Product Distribution Center expansion (PDCe), a $400 million project, with a groundbreaking in fall 2017, with heavy work starting the following spring. The end result is a 2.2 million-square-foot building – large enough to fit 22 football fields inside. The old Product Distribution Center, a separate building but connected by a sky bridge, is roughly 800,000 square feet.

“You will probably be a little awestruck seeing it in person,” Laura Stengrim, Digi-Key’s public relations and marketing communications manager, said of the new building. “It is very visible from the corridors coming into Thief River Falls from the south and also from the west.”

The new PDCe, as it is called, was designed by Minnesota-based Widseth. McShane Construction served as general contractor and more than 80 subcontractors were hired to help complete the facility. Digi-Key said that at the height of construction, the state-of-the-art facility was one of the largest building projects in the United States. The facility makes Digi-Key one of the top 10 largest warehouses in North America, Stengrim said.

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Founded in 1972, Digi-Key offers more than 13.4 million products from more than 2,300 manufacturers. The company employs more than 5,200 – 3,600-plus in Thief River Falls alone – and has annual sales of more than $4.7 billion.

The company received a $40 million grant from the state of Minnesota for job expansion, and since work began on the expansion project, Digi-Key has added nearly 680 new employees.

“The promise made to our community at the groundbreaking ceremony in the fall of 2017 was that this project would add 1,000 jobs to the community over the next 10 years,” Stengrim said, noting “and we will continue to add jobs over the next five years and into the future.”

She said the new facility is planned to give Digi-Key the space it needs for the next 10 years.

The grand opening event, by invitation only, will include a VIP tour led by President Dave Doherty and Vice President of Order Fulfillment Chris Lauer.

“The opening of the PDCe will celebrate many things for DigiKey Electronics, Thief River Falls, and the entire state of Minnesota,” Stengrim said. “It will mark the opening of a new chapter in Digi-Key history by adding state-of-the-art automation and efficiency, order fulfillment, and it has already added jobs to our community and positively affected the economy in both our city and the state of Minnesota.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to celebrate this monumental occasion with those that have helped make this a reality.”

Related Topics: BUSINESS
Andrew Weeks is an award-winning journalist who has reported for a number of newspapers and magazines. He currently is the editor of Prairie Business, the premier business magazine of the northern plains. The magazine covers various industries and business topics in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
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