Three ‘cheerios’ for General Mills facility’s 10th anniversary

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The GM Distribution Center
The General Mills Distribution Center in Social Circle is spacious enough to hold 28 football fields.

It was 10 years ago last month that General Mills officially opened a distribution center in Social Circle. From its Walton County vantage point along the 1-20 industrial corridor, the food giant has helped fuel the local economy while staking its claim on American breakfast tables — shipping thousands of truckloads of Cheerios, Wheaties, Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms to grocery retailers throughout the Southeast.

But General Mills’ pantry dominance doesn’t end when the breakfast dishes are cleared from the table. Cereal is only one of the many packaged food categories coming in and out of the company’s local distribution center that is powered by electricity supplied by Walton EMC.

The co-op has been the choice electricity supplier for the facility since it opened in 2010. To celebrate our decade of working together, here are 10 things you might not know about this industrial customer-owner of Walton EMC. 

  1. It’s extra large. In a state that loves the gridiron, it’s important to note that the 1.5 million-square-foot facility can hold 28 football fields, with room to spare. That’s enough space for every public high school in DeKalb County to simultaneously host a game.
  2. It’s great for getting in your steps. Walking from one end of the building to the other is almost a half-mile, or 2,322 feet long. The length is necessary to accommodate eight rail doors alongside the railroad and storage capacity for 500 trailers.
  3. It’s often mistaken for an office building. At first glance — and at eye level — the warehousing facility looks like an extra-large suburban office complex. Those driving by the facility near the intersection of E. Hightower Trail and Willow Springs Church Road south of downtown Social Circle might mistake it for a General Mills administrative building.
  4. It’s busy. On an average day, the distribution center handles 167 trucks — 5,000 per month — that are destined for deliveries throughout the Southeast.
  5. It moves more than cereal. The facility distributes the General Mills family of products throughout the Southeast. General Mills markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso and more.
  6. It requires a lot of electricity. Walton EMC electricity energizes hundreds of lights, warehousing equipment, a sophisticated computer system and a 25,000-square-foot office area at the distribution center. The facility’s usual electricity consumption in a month is enough to power 253 average Walton EMC customer-owner homes.    
  7. It’s energy efficient. The facility has received accolades for its many energy efficient features, such as a sun-reflecting roof designed to reduce cooling costs and energy-efficient lighting inside and outside the facility.
  8. It’s a LEED leader. When it opened in 2010, the Social Circle facility was the largest industrial building in the U.S. to earn LEED Gold certification, and the second largest LEED Gold certified industrial building in the world. LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building performs in energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
  9. It is the area’s second General Mills facility. The facility is strategically located just 10 miles from General Mills’ Covington production facility, which manufactures cereal and snacks. That facility celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019.
  10. It holds a place in history. In the midst of an historic U.S. economic downturn, the facility was the largest build-to-suit distribution center construction project begun in the U.S. in 2009. The opening in 2010 brought much-needed jobs to Georgia and Walton County.