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 N.A. vice president
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 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.”