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Amazon unveils plan for large distribution center in Shafter

20200821-bc-Amazon

In this August 2020 file photo shot inside Amazon's "fulfillment center" along Petrol Road across Merle Haggard Drive from Meadows Field Airport, a company employee demonstrates how robots retrieve products from storage and take them to a station for packaging them for consumers. The company offered a tour of the four-story building expected to launch operations Sept. 6. The tour was part of a celebration with local public officials Thursday.

Amazon announced Thursday it plans to open a "fulfillment center" in Shafter by the end of this year that will become the e-commerce company's second large distribution facility in Kern County.

Employing more than 1,000 people full and part time, the more than 1 million-square-foot center is expected to launch by the end of this year, packing and shipping "softline" goods such as apparel and footwear to customers across the region. The location of the new center was not disclosed.

The Seattle-based company said it will be hiring to fill positions at the new facility including human resources, operations management, safety, security, finance and information technology. Employment at the center will pay at least $15 per hour and immediately offer various benefits including a 401(k) retirement savings program with a 50 percent company match.

“Amazon is excited to make this investment in Kern County that will support local economic development and help us deliver to our growing number of customers in the region," Amazon's director of regional operations, Jordan Nelson, said in a news release. "As we continue to grow in California, we are contributing to the economic recovery in the Southern California and across the state.”

Shafter Mayor Cathy Prout said in Amazon's news release the company remains competitive and continues to welcome new businesses.

"During unprecedented times, cities nationwide are dealing with economic growth or the negative impacts these challenging times bring," she stated. "For Shafter, this is not the case."

Earlier this year Amazon opened a large fulfillment center just north of Meadows Field Airport.

It has also been negotiating on at least two smaller sites, one in northern Bakersfield and one in the city's southern portion, where people involved in the proposed transactions say the company hopes to open smaller, more locally focused distribution centers.