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Amazon opens doors to Spartanburg facility

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Amazon celebrated the official opening Monday of its 1-million-square-foot Spartanburg fulfillment center. (Photo/Liz Segrist)
Amazon celebrated the official opening Monday of its 1 million-square-foot Spartanburg fulfillment center. (Photo/Liz Segrist)

By Liz Segrist
Published March 25, 2013

Bright green kayaks, lawn mowers, fitness equipment, bicycle tires and memory foam mattresses are among the thousands of items being prepped for shipment at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Spartanburg.

Mike Roth, Amazon’s North American vice president
Mike Roth, Amazon’s N.A. vice president
Elected officials, community business leaders and Amazon associates gathered Monday for the official opening and a tour of Amazon’s Spartanburg facility at 405 John Dodd Road, which opened for business in September.

Seattle-based Amazon announced plans in January 2012 for a $50 million investment and 390 jobs. The 1 million-square-foot facility now employs more than 400 and handles tens of thousands of inbound and outbound shipments every day. Specific figures were not available.

Amazon is constantly searching for expansion opportunities and locations for new facilities, although no specifics are available of whether any future expansions will be in South Carolina, said Mike Roth, Amazon’s North American vice president.

“We are constantly looking at our nationwide topology,” Roth said. “I can’t give precise locations of the next couple of buildings we plan to build, but there will be continued expansion in the future.”

The facility receives inbound freight from hundreds of retail suppliers and small enterprises every day. The small enterprises use fulfillment by Amazon, meaning they send inventory to the facility to be stored while they sell their products through Amazon’s website. Amazon then sends the product to the customer.

Amazon 2
Amazon now employs more than 400 in Spartanburg. Its employees handle tens of thousands of inbound and outbound shipments every day, including kayaks and lawn mowers. (Photo/Liz Segrist)

“The fulfillment by Amazon gives small enterprises the opportunity to send inventory to us. It’s becoming a very successful part of our business,” Roth said, noting that the mega e-commerce site sees continued growth in its electronics and general merchandise sectors.

The facility has a training area; sorting areas; an inbound area for goods; and an outbound area where the goods are packaged and shipped out by a variety of carriers.

Employees do not need specific training to work at the facility. They undergo on-the-job training, such as obstacle course driving and placing items in storage, sometimes 30 feet in the air.

“The workforce has been fantastic and it has exceeded every single expectation that we could have had,” Roth said.

During the opening, Spartanburg County Councilman Jeff Horton, Spartanburg Mayor Junie White and Rep. Mike Forrester spoke of Spartanburg’s leadership, interstates, future inland port, schools and workforce as some of the attributes that helped recruit Amazon to the area.

“South Carolina’s national reputation immediately caught our attention,” Roth said. “You don’t have companies such as Milliken, Boeing, BMW, Bridgestone, Michelin and many others without a great business environment, a quality workforce and great community support.”

Previous Spartanburg Amazon coverage

Amazon facility sold for $63 million
Amazon hiring thousands of seasonal workers
Lots of boxes, people make up Amazon facility
Amazon to open in Spartanburg this fall
Spartanburg council approves Amazon facility
Spartanburg County working to lure Amazon to the area

Previous S.C. Amazon coverage

Amazon celebrates opening of S.C. distribution center
Amazon expands footprint in South Carolina
Amazon opens Cayce distribution center
Amazon gets back to work on center
Amazon tax provision moves one step closer to Haley's desk
S.C. House reverses and approves tax-collection exemption for Amazon
Amazon ups job offer; House OKs tax exemption
Haley: Amazon tax break would destroy recruiting message
Amazon tax exemption still dividing General Assembly
BREAKING NEWS: Amazon halts plans in S.C.
Lexington County lands massive Amazon distribution center

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