In a move that had been rumored for months, the City of Fresno and Amazon both announced today that the internet shopping giant plans to open a fulfillment center in Fresno that will add up to 3,000 jobs. The new facility is proposed to be built at Orange and Central in southwest Fresno.

The 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center will be the fifth Amazon center in the Central Valley and was placed here for convenience and by Fresno’s own merit.

“We look to see where we can improve our Prime benefits with faster shipping needs for customers and where there is a dedicated workforce that can raise the bar of our operational excellence,” said Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s Vice President of North American Operations.

“We know we’ll find talent in abundance in Fresno to join the Amazon team.”

Mayor Lee Brand was excited to announce the news which had been in the works since December 2016, before the beginning of his term.

“On behalf of the people of the City of Fresno, it is my pleasure to welcome Amazon to our wonderful city. We look forward to their fulfillment team joining our rapidly growing business community and building on the positive momentum that is energizing our economy,” Brand said.

The development is seen, in part, as a result of Brand’s Economic Expansion Act, which attempts to lure new businesses to Fresno using tax rebates and other incentives.

Brand’s statement continued, “Amazon will not only provide quality jobs, they’ll also bring a tradition of volunteering and partnering with local small businesses that are vital to our overall success. We are thankful for the job opportunities Amazon will offer to our residents and we will embrace Amazon and make them part of the fabric of our great city.”

However, the local small business community does not share Mayor Brand’s enthusiasm.

Rich Holdsworth, owner of the Rubber Soul bike shop, is concerned with the effect Amazon will have on our community after seeing what it has done to other localities and the nation as a whole. He cited reports that correlate online shopping, particularly through Amazon, with the decline of ‘brick and mortar’ stores.

One study he mentioned was a USA Today analysis that showed almost 35 percent of all internet revenue going to Amazon.

He argues that the new facility will bring some positive, but will be a net loss for Fresno.

“I’m sure it will bring a few management jobs and a bunch of really stressful warehouse floor jobs where you are constantly on the clock to complete your tasks,” Holdsworth said.

In addition to the demanding jobs he predicts the facility will bring, he also anticipates that, through Amazon’s competition with established businesses, this new facility may actually end up costing more jobs than it creates.

Holdsworth concedes that the trend of online shopping is here to stay as a business model, but said that, when all is said and done, “Amazon will make Walmart pale in comparison in terms of the effect on American jobs.”

Contact Drew Phelps

Phone: 559-440-8321 / e-mail

This story was not subject to the approval of Granville Homes.

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