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Amazon.com to open warehouse in Chambersburg

August 06, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Amazon.com is opening a distribution center later this month in a 420,000-square-foot warehouse in the Chambers-5 Industrial Park, according to a spokesman for the Internet retailer.

"You won't find books or music or videos there," spokesman Bill Curry said of the fulfillment center on Nitterhouse Drive. The center will be used to ship larger products such as barbecue grills, televisions, kitchen appliances, large toys and other goods ordered over the Internet.

He said the facility will be used to ship goods for Amazon and to provide services to "third party sellers" such as toysrus.com and target.com.

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Much of the work force will be seasonal, temporary employees, Curry said.

"We expect fewer than 10 Amazon employees," Curry said. He said the center could employ up to 100 or more temporary workers during peak periods, such as before Christmas.

A job fair held at a Chambersburg hotel last week was primarily to recruit temporary workers, he said. The job fair, held by Integrity Staffing Solutions, advertised for 50 day-shift positions.

Curry said the Seattle-based company has six other distribution centers around the country.

"We'll be shipping from there by the end of the month. It's a facility that was pretty much ready for us," Curry said of the warehouse.

Built in 1995, the building had housed Franklin Storage, which provided warehouse and distribution services to other companies, said Charles Lee, senior vice president for Keystone Property Trust, which owns the building. In addition to 46 loading docks for trucks, it has rail service, he said, another attractive feature for a major distributor.

Chambersburg has become a hub for distribution centers including Target, Ingram Books and Kmart, Lee said.

The companies are attracted to the area by a combination of factors, including a good transportation system, being situated along Interstate 81, labor and what Lee called "a terrific cost structure."

"All of these things create a critical mass that is useful for attracting other like-minded companies to the area," Lee said.

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