Henderson Announces New Grocery & Distribution Sector | Henderson Engineers Henderson Announces New Grocery & Distribution Sector | Henderson Engineers

Henderson Announces New Grocery & Distribution Sector

With five decades of experience under our belt, Henderson Companies’ roots are firmly planted in grocery and retail design. We work with some of the world’s largest grocers and retailers who rely on us to provide cost-effective, environmentally friendly building systems for their stores and distribution centers. Over the last three years, we’ve also started working with a confidential multinational e-commerce company with an expansive network of first-mile, middle mile, and last-mile facilities that include sortation centers, cross dock facilities, refrigerated fulfillment centers, and delivery stations. It’s likely that 90% of consumers have experienced a grocery and/or retail space we’ve helped bring to life. Today, we’re excited to announce that we have gathered our firm’s extensive grocery store, convenience store, cold storage, and distribution center expertise into a new market sector – the Grocery & Distribution Sector.


How It Started

After starting Henderson Engineers in 1970, Fran Henderson became known for his ability to deliver grocery store designs quickly and efficiently. A Safeway remodel led to a decade-long relationship in the 1970s, resulting in 50 store projects with the grocer that laid the foundation for Henderson’s growing reputation as a grocery engineer. Price Chopper, Hen House, and Food Barn later followed as grocery clients in the early to mid-1980s with the firm continuing to work with Price Chopper still today. Henderson also became adept at designing HVAC systems to take advantage of the cool air coming off refrigerated cases using under case return air systems to improve comfort.

In 1989, that reputation led to a serendipitous meeting with Walmart that started our ongoing 30-year-plus relationship. We started with a local Hypermart (a predecessor of the Walmart Supercenter) and a couple of Sam’s Club stores (a first-of-its-kind warehouse/members-only shopping concept at that time). We went on to develop and maintain store prototypes that drive efficient design and construction of high-volume programs for Neighborhood Markets, Supercenters, and capital expenditure remodels. Our focus on solving business needs using technical skills and innovation has kept our partnership going strong and led to grocery design and energy efficiency guidelines that still are industry standards. Here are a few highlights of our decades-long partnership with Walmart:



  • Henderson Engineers begins to develop and maintain the first grocery prototypes for all Supercenter and Sam’s Club stores.
  • We train in-country consultants on Walmart design standards for the first-ever international store projects in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and China.
  • High volume project management becomes our specialty as we lead the development and maintenance of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and refrigeration systems for Supercenter and Neighborhood Market prototypes across the nation and create a capital expenditure proto that enables 500 remodel projects per year.


  • Henderson developed high-efficiency (HE) building systems become the new standard for energy efficiency across Walmart’s fleet.
  • We proudly work on Walmart’s first LEED accredited store, and design daylighting controls for the sales floor and automatic lighting in frozen food cases that save on electrical costs, creating a design standard still used by grocers today.
  • As grocery shopping patterns changed, we began to design and implement hundreds of in-store pickup and delivery projects into existing Supercenter and Neighborhood Market locations.
  • Today, together with Henderson Building Solutions, we provide ongoing building system upgrades, renovations, and new facilities that support Walmart’s corporate climate goals to become a regenerative company with zero emissions by 2030.


From Grocery to Cold Storage

In 2007, we began our partnership with Whole Foods and added refrigeration design to our expertise. The goal was to integrate refrigeration systems into reliable and efficient design standards for thousands of facility types across the grocery market. Since then, we’ve helped design hundreds of refrigerated facilities used to produce, house, and ship perishable products across the U.S.

Our portfolio also continued to grow as we began work with Sprouts Farmer Market, Schnucks Marketplace, Harp’s Foods, H-E-B, Aldi’s and more. In 2014, our grocery and refrigeration expertise led to work with Kum & Go followed by projects with RaceTrac, Buc-ee’s, and a national check-out free convenience store program with a confidential client.


New Grocery & Distribution Sector

Many of our original refrigeration hires have grown into some of the industry’s most respected refrigeration design experts, including Tony Welter, who serves on the ASHRAE Refrigeration Committee, and Jen Jewers Bowlin. Both have leadership roles in our new Grocery & Distribution Sector along with other familiar Henderson faces:

Our in-house team has perfected the process needed to keep high-volume programs, new construction, and capital expenditure remodels on schedule. Clients appreciate that we understand the importance of cold chain and the different considerations involved when selecting refrigerant types from HFCs to national refrigerants like CO2 for different facilities. Our experts go beyond design to also analyze energy efficiency and heat reclaim, as well as perform commissioning and functional performance testing on these complex systems. That personalized approach has kept our grocery, convenience store, cold storage, and distribution project portfolio growing for the past 30-plus years.

As we have grown, our mission has always been the same – to deliver trendsetting solutions that meet business operation needs while watching project costs and environmental impact. As the industry continues to evolve, simple stuff is no longer simple when it comes to building systems in grocery stores, convenience stores, and cold storage facilities. Bringing in an expert early in the design process can make a significant difference. We know that to continue to serve the best, we must remain committed to being the best as we #BuildABetterWorld together.

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