Amazon is opening its first fulfillment center in Arkansas’ capital of Little Rock.
The e-commerce behemoth has announced plans to debut the new 825,000-square-foot site next year, which would pave the way for more than 1,000 new full-time jobs. Employees will work alongside robotics to pack and ship items such as books, electronics and toys to shoppers.
What’s more, the retailer is also setting up an 85,000-square-foot delivery station, anticipated to launch late this year. These terminals power the last mile of Amazon’s order fulfillment process: After being transported from fulfillment centers, packages are loaded from stations into vehicles that then go out for delivery to customers. The company expects to add hundreds more permanent full-time and part-time roles with this addition — the second location of its kind in the city.
“We greatly appreciate the strong support from local and state leaders as we look to open our first fulfillment center and second delivery station in the state of Arkansas,” VP of global customer fulfillment Alicia Boler said. “We look forward to creating over a thousand jobs for the Little Rock community, with industry-leading pay and comprehensive benefits starting on day one.”
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According to the company, the city’s board of directors gave final approval for the sale of the 80-acre property to Amazon.com Inc. during a meeting in early April. In a statement, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. welcomed the move, particularly amid the coronavirus pandemic, which he said has caused “deep concern” among many local residents and families.
“Today’s announcement provides reassurance that Little Rock will rebound and that jobs are on the way,” he explained. “Additionally, Little Rock’s geographical location with river, rail, road and air access make it ideal to expand Amazon’s distribution throughout the South.”
The minimum wage at Amazon begins at $15, and the company offers medical, vision and dental benefits plus a 401(k) with 50% match starting on the hired employee’s first day. (It also offers up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave.)
However, the company has recently made headlines over its allegedly unsatisfactory safety measures, which some workers claim have failed to comply with public health guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis — and thus put fellow employees and their families at risk. Amazon explained that it has ramped up protections — from staggering shifts and increasing cleaning at stores to conducting temperature checks and providing personal protective equipment — to improve safety for its associates and shoppers.