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News Story
Updated: 03/06/2014 08:00:05AM

Cheney breaks ground

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SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI
Florida Gov. Rick Scott got a surprise at Wednesday's Cheney Brothers groundbreaking ceremony when the Rev. Jerry Kaywell from Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Punta Gorda placed ashes on his forehead to mark Ash Wednesday.

SUN PHOTO BY BRIAN GLEASON

Gov. Rick Scott, Shauna Leigh Shows and Cheney Brothers CEO Byron Russell prepare to cut a ribbon symbolizing the beginning of construction on a food-distribution center in Charlotte County. The center will employ up to 380 to start, and eventually could produce more than 800 jobs, Russell said.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Bruce and Barbara Laishley of Punta Gorda, David Albright of Florida Community Bank, Laura Russell and Cheney Brothers CEO Byron Russell attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cheney Brothers Distribution Center, which the company anticipates opening in the first part of 2015.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI
Cathy Sanders, Geri Waksler, Barbara Laishley, Bobbi and Lyn Bevis

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Cheney Brothers staff and administartion break ground for the new distribution center in Punta Gorda.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Administrative staff for the city of Punta Gorda break ground on the new distribution center for Cheney Brothers.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Ed Wotitzky from the Wotitzky Law Firm, and Patti Allen from Fishermen's Village attend the groundbreaking ceremony.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Erica Radziewicz from Charlotte County Young Professionals, Assistant State Attorney Shannon Doolity, Mike Riley from Charlotte County Public Schools, and Jill McCrory from the McCrory Law Firm attend the groundbreaking.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cheney Brothers Distribution center Wednesday.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Gov. Rick Scott speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Margorie Benson, Pat Smith, Brenda Lynch, Leslee Peth, Nancy Padgett, Caroline Thonon, Della Booth, Wendy Atkinson and Keith Callaghan pose at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cheney Brothers Distribution Center.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Ron and Vicky Evans from Smuggler's Enterprises.

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Teri Ashley, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell and Assistant State Attorney Shannon Doolity pose for a photo at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cheney Brothers Distribution Center, near the Punta Gorda Airport.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Tim Vanderhoof, business devlopment manager from Enterprise Florida, greets Gov. Rick Scott at Wednesday's dedication ceremony.

SUN PHOTO BY PETER ARATARI

Bruce and Barbara Laishley of Punta Gorda, David Albright of Florida Community Bank, Laura Russell and Cheney Brothers CEO Byron Russell attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Cheney Brothers Distribution Center, which the company anticipates opening in the first part of 2015.

By BRENDA BARBOSA

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PUNTA GORDA — With Florida Gov. Rick Scott and local dignitaries looking on, food-distribution giant Cheney Brothers Inc. broke ground Wednesday on a new, state-of-the-art distribution facility that promises to galvanize Charlotte County’s sluggish economy.

Close to 200 people attended the lavish groundbreaking event that took place at Cheney’s site just off Piper Road, near the Punta Gorda Airport. It marked yet another milestone in Cheney’s nearly 90-year history, which started in 1925 as a mom-and-pop operation with one truck delivering eggs and milk. Today, Cheney has four locations totaling more than a million square feet of space, and more than $1 billion in sales, making it one of the state’s largest privately owned companies. The new distribution center in Charlotte County — with an anticipated opening in the first part of 2015 — will be Cheney’s third in Florida.

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