An Amazon worker places an item in a box for shipment during a media tour of a fulfillment center in Washington. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) Ted S. Warren
Photo: Ted S. Warren
Photo: Ted S. Warren

Amazon to hire 1,000 for metro Atlanta center

Amazon plans a new distribution hub in metro Atlanta that will ultimately employ about 1,000 full-time workers.

The new “fulfillment center” in Jefferson, about 60 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, will be Amazon’s second in Jackson County, and the announcement comes amid the Fortune 500 company’s push to provide rapid delivery — including same-day — to more customers.

Like much of metro Atlanta, Jackson County, which is astride I-85, has seen growth in its warehousing and logistics sector as the economy recovered from the Great Recession and online shopping and consumer spending increased.

Ryan White, an Amazon associate, fills shopping bags for customer orders at a warehouse in Los Angeles. (Patrick Fallon/Zuma Press/TNS)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Georgia has been a great place to do business for Amazon and we look forward to adding a new fulfillment center to better serve our customers in the region,” Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations, said in a news release Thursday.

The more than 850,000-square-foot facility will pack and ship orders from Amazon to consumers. Amazon said it already employs more than 1,500 full-time workers in Georgia.

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Jared Wiesel, a partner in the retail and consumer goods practice at Revenue Analytics, said Amazon’s push to open more fulfillment centers is part of its goal to enable delivery within hours.

“Two of Amazon’s greatest competitive strengths are around convenience and price,” he said. “They continue to try to shorten the delivery window.”

E-tailers such as Amazon have eroded traditional retailers’ advantage of having products on site for shoppers looking to grab-and-go. If Amazon can winnow down delivery times, Wiesel said, it’s another opportunity to steal market share.

Boxes move along a conveyor belt at an Amazon fulfillment center in California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“The more Amazon continues to chip aware at that barrier, the more the traditional brick and mortar retailers feel the heat,” he said. At the same time, some traditional retailers like Walmart are boosting their own online business in a bid to fight back.

Wiesel said most workers at an Amazon center are involved in sorting and packaging. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Economic Development said Amazon is eligible for tax credits for qualifying new jobs as well as sales and use tax exemptions.

Amazon could qualify for about $1.25 million in jobs tax credits if it creates 1,000 qualifying jobs, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution analysis of state incentives schedules.

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