BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – A new Amazon facility will be bringing jobs to the region, according to Bristol, Virginia city officials.
City Manager Randy Eads says an Amazon distribution center will open on Thomas Road near Exit 7 along Interstate 81.
A press release states the facility will create “hundreds of new jobs” with starting wages of $15 per hour. It will be located at 103 Thomas Road in an existing building at the Bristol, Virginia Industrial Park and is expected to open later this year.
The facility will power Amazon’s last-mile delivery capabilities to speed up deliveries for customers in the region, according to the release from Street & Company, the owner of the building. Packages are transported from Amazon’s fulfillment and sortation center to delivery stations, where they are loaded into vehicles for delivery.
“Amazon is excited to expand operations into Southwest Virginia, investing in a new delivery station in Bristol,” Amazon spokesperson Courtney Norman said in the release. “We are committed to providing efficient delivery for customers and creating hundreds of jobs for the talented workforce in the area.”
“The Street team has been working with the Amazon team for a few months to finalize plans and scheduling,” said Jim Street of Street & Company. “We are extremely happy to have Amazon as a tenant and to be part of creating new jobs in the region. Landing this project is a win-win for everyone.”
Street & Company says Amazon delivery stations also offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their own businesses by delivering packages.
Amazon was an unavailable for an interview Wednesday but did answer a few questions via email.
“Employees will load packages transported from Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers to the delivery station into vehicles for delivery to customers. However, we’ll also be hiring for support roles like safety and HR as well,” said a spokesperson for the company. “The facility will power Amazon’s last-mile delivery capabilities to speed up deliveries for customers in the region.”
Bringing Amazon to Southwest Virginia has been in the works since 2018 when the state legislature voted on a multi-part incentive package to bring its second headquarters to Arlington.
“Just because it located in Northern Virginia didn’t mean that it couldn’t have little fingerlings that went out into the rest of the commonwealth. So, as soon as we voted for the incentive package, we made headway with the lobbyists and the leadership of Amazon,” said state Sen. Todd Pillion (R-40th District). “But, our incentive package was not nearly as much as what other states were offering because they were attracted to northern Virginia, they were attracted to the commonwealth because of our dedicated workforce.”
“It didn’t require anywhere near the amount of incentives that you might think. The HQ2 project was a big project,” said Del. Israel O’Quinn (R- 5th District) “There’s no doubt about it but to be able to get really one of the largest corporations in the world to come to your state then to be able to pick up secondary lines of business… it was a worthwhile investment for the Commonwealth as a whole.”
Both the delegate and senator say the impact will be felt beyond the city of Bristol.
“They’re going to be looking for a lot of qualified people. There may be a few people that end up moving here as a result of it as well so, I think it’s one of those deals where the high tide will raise all ships,” O’Quinn said.
“It provides a reason to stay here, to live here, to work here, and raise your family here. It shows that we can recruit a top-tier company to Southwest Virginia. We have the dedicated workforce and we can have our kids stay here and work here and never move,” Pillion said.
Those sentiments from lawmakers bringing hope for local business owners like Jeff Curtis and his wife. “We need it. Bristol is kind of like the lower rung of the Tri-Cities,” said Jeff. “This is a good shot in the arm. We need it. I am excited, truly.”
They own Eagle Realty, Curtis Auto, and Pineview Buildings just down the road from where the center will be.
“I’m ecstatic that a major, top-tier company like Amazon has the foresight to see Bristol as a growing opportunity so we can keep our young people here and we can grow our city grow our opportunities, and help business owners like myself as well as the residents of Bristol,” he said.
Curtis believes the combination of Amazon and Hard Rock Casino arriving will create a business boom for the area.
“I think it’s just going to explode. I think it’s going to be exponential as far as the sales,” Curtis said. “I think it’s going to attract more professional people. I think we are going to have more people coming into the area.”