More than 500 jobs to be added in two sites

Two distribution centers planned for Georgia by two separate companies will mean more than 500 jobs and an investment of about $140 million, officials said this week.

In Bartow County, the Duluth Trading Company plans to build a $53 million facility.

The Adairsville project will be the company’s first automated fulfillment center, according to a statement from Sam Sato, chief executive of the Wisconsin-based maker of casual clothes and workwear.

Although the facility will include “state-of-the-art robotics,” it will also employ more than 300, he said.

The company is hiring for a variety of positions, including full-time, part-time, and seasonal warehouse work. Jobseekers may apply at www.duluthtrading.com/careers.

The company has a retail store in Kennesaw.

In Bryan County, WebstaurantStore, which supplies materials to food service professionals, will build an $87 million distribution facility. Plans call for hiring to fill 213 positions at the facility in Ellabell, officials said.

WebstaurantStore currently employs about 680 people in Georgia, officials said.

Warehouses, distribution and fulfillment centers have been among the leaders in investment and job growth for the past several years, a surge accelerated during the first year of the pandemic that has continued, said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Department of Economic Development.

“Georgia’s logistics industry created the third-most jobs last fiscal year,” he said, in a statement.

Officials said the state did not provide economic incentives for the Webstaurant project. They declined to provide details about the arrangements with Duluth Trading because the deal is still being negotiated.

This week’s announcements come as the state’s economy continues to show no sign of embracing the notion of an economic slowdown, the much-hyped goal of the Federal Reserve’s recent campaign to raise short-term interest rates.

The Fed’s hikes are meant to tame inflation by dampening investment and expansion, and they have slowed price hikes in residential real estate, but have so far shown only modest impact on hiring and slowing the Georgia economy.

New jobless claims, for example, have ticked up in recent weeks, according to the Georgia Department of Labor.

New claims have averaged 7,380 for each of the past four weeks compared to an average of 4,792 a week during the previous three months. During 2021, claims averaged more than 18,000 per week, according to the U.S. Employment and Training Administration.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday touted the state’s expansion, which has been the centerpiece of his re-election campaign against his Democratic challenger, Stacey Abrams.

A monthly report on Georgia’s job growth and unemployment is due next week.