ABOVE, the food distribution warehouse at 4635 Town Center Drive.

A late April building purchase represents a monumental step forward in the evolution of Ranch Foods Direct. “It’s a very big deal,” says owner Mike Callicrate. “We’ve been looking three years to find a place we could own outright.” With a few modest renovations, the old Federal Food Service building at 4635 Town Center Drive – just southwest of the Platte and Powers intersection – will offer nearly 30,000 square feet of food-ready space. Many details are still being finalized, but Mike’s bold ideas for expansion include:

* A much-needed local food hub and commercial kitchen;

* Room for additional smoking, curing and other prepared food applications;

* Ideal facilities to handle a much larger selection of fresh produce;

* Room to offer educational and food apprenticeship-type programs;

* Roughly 3 acres of property landscaped to provide pollinator habitat.

Repairs and renovations are expected to occur over the next 90 days but the company is already moving equipment and inventory into the new building. East-siders can also look forward to a new retail outlet on-site. “It will be a beehive of activity,” Mike says.