It was a multi-million dollar investment shrouded in code names for months, but this past September it started shipping packages just in time for the peak holiday season. Today, we got our first look inside the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Rutherford County.
Mike Moore has only been working at Amazon for six months; he's a problem solver, and without associates like him, this operation wouldn't run as smoothly.
"I make sure the orders get done on time, watch over them, and make sure the packers get done," Moore said. "If any problems arise I go over and pick up the order myself and fix the problem that's needed."
The Amazon Fulfillment Center, on Joe B. Jackson Parkway in Murfreesboro, started with only 400 employees, and less than a year later more than 1,100 people work there. Amazon officials said the Joe B. Jackson Parkway location is the highest performing startup site for the entire company.
"We're very pleased from what we've found in Tennessee; and the quality of the workforce, and the commitment from every single person who has touched this project," said Mike Roth, Amazon vice president of North America Operations.
Amazon had an official grand opening today, giving tours of the state-of-the art facility.
To put things into perspective, this building is 1 million square feet, that's the equivalent of 25 football fields. There are about four miles of conveyer belts to keep packages moving and ready to be shipped around the world. In only seven months, more than a million products have been shipped from this location.
State economic and development officials said attracting companies like Amazon helps with the overall job growth of the state.
"Last year we were fourth in the nation for manufacturing job growth. We are No. 1 in the Southeast today," said Bill Hagerty, commissioner of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
But the same can't be said for the nation's job growth; disappointing job numbers were released today.
"I think the national story is going to remain tough. In fact we expect GDP to perhaps be at 1.52-percent growth overall this year, which is considerably lower than 2012," Hagerty said. "What that means for our state is, we are going to have continually gain market share. So we're out every day competing to bring more companies here."
Amazon recently announced it will be operating facilities in Texas, Northern California, and New Jersey, but what about future expansion in Tennessee?
"There is always room for future expansion. We're going to see where the next opportunity is for our company," Roth said.
Amazon also has fulfillment centers in Lebanon and Chattanooga.
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