Amazon’s presence in Missouri has been growing since 2018, when it opened its first fulfillment center in St. Peters. At the time, the e-commerce juggernaut expected to hire around 1,500 people to man the facility. Today that fulfillment center has 6,000 employees and is still growing.
Amazon must like what it sees in the Show-Me State, because it has made several new investments in recent months.
In November 2020, Amazon opened a new 1.3-million-sq.-ft. distribution and fulfillment center in Republic, located on the outskirts of Springfield in the southwestern part of the state. By creating 500 new full-time jobs, the investment makes Amazon the largest employer in the city and is expected to have a massive economic impact.
A few months later, Amazon announced plans to open a new 270,000-sq.-ft. “sort center” in St. Louis to sort packages before they’re sent to delivery stations and partner carriers for last-mile delivery to customers. The company expects to create hundreds of new jobs at this facility as well.
In April, Amazon invested in Missouri again with a new delivery center in Blue Springs in the Kansas City area. The new facility is expected to begin operations later this year.
“This facility will not only bring jobs to Blue Springs, but it also fills a vacant industrial building in our community,” said Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross. “We are proud to see companies like Amazon investing in our community and creating more opportunities for our residents.”
“We look forward to becoming part of the fabric of the Blue Springs community and are thrilled to be able to expand our operations in Missouri,” said Amazon spokeswoman Nikki Wheeler. “Amazon is a great place to work and grow professionally. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from local and state leaders and look forward to creating new, full-time jobs for the local community.”
Logistics Factors Drive E-commerce Firms to Kansas City
Missouri’s location in the center of the U.S. makes it a top destination for companies exploring new sites for their distribution centers, as it is centrally located in the Midwest and the center of North America. Missouri’s strategic position allows companies to access more than half of the continental U.S. within a day’s drive — and the rest within two days. The additional benefit of having an extensive logistics network including river barge, Class I railroads, international airports and highways means goods can move in and out of the state with ease.
In the last half of 2020, Missouri welcomed several newcomers to the state, including Chewy, Inc., BoxyCharm and Kenco Logistics Services, Inc., totaling more than $225 million in new capital investment and creating nearly 2,000 new jobs in the state.
Last summer, online pet supply retailer, Chewy, Inc., opened a new 800,000-sq.-ft. e-commerce fulfillment center in Belton where it will create more than 1,200 new jobs in the Kansas City region.
“Now more than ever, Missouri’s innovative businesses, logistics infrastructure, and talented workforce are critical to our economy,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Chewy’s decision to expand in Belton and create new jobs for Missouri families is a testament to our ongoing business strengths as we work to recover from COVID-19. We welcome Chewy to Missouri and look forward to working together as the company grows and invests in our state.”
Founded in 2011, the popular pet company operates out of more than 15 locations across the U.S. Chewy’s new Kansas City operation at Southview Commerce Center will be one of the largest fulfillment centers in its network by square footage.
“We are thrilled to open our first fulfillment center in Missouri and continue to grow our team. We’re so excited to be a part of this community and look forward to having a presence in the region,” said Diane Pelkey, vice president of communications and public relations at Chewy.
Partners working together to attract Chewy to the Kansas City area included the Kansas City Area Development Council, Missouri Partnership, City of Belton, Cushman & Wakefield, NorthPoint Development, Evergy, Spire, QPS Employment Services, Aerotek and KC SmartPort.
“This is the perfect time to welcome Chewy, Inc.’s e-commerce fulfillment center to the KC region,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. “The KC Heartland is the crossroads of North America and offers a strong advantage for e-commerce operations.”
In November 2020, Kenco, a leading third-party logistics platform, also opened a new distribution facility in the Kansas City area in Liberty, a center for logistics excellence that was named among the Top 10 U.S. Central Warehouse Sites by Supply Chain Quarterly (along with St. Peters and Springfield, Missouri) due to its operating cost comparisons. With increased online shopping resulting from the global pandemic, companies are looking to the Kansas City area for lower costs and more favorable taxes for their supply chain facilities.
The KC region is supply-chain-centered, and in the past five years, has successfully attracted e-commerce and distribution companies pledging to create more than 10,200 jobs, invest $1.8 billion and occupy 16.7 million square feet.
“We are excited that Kenco Logistics, one of the top 10 logistics companies in the world, selected the Liberty Logistics Park and our community for their new facility,” said Lyndell Brenton, mayor of Liberty. “Their decision to locate here reinforces Liberty’s place as a growing logistics and distribution hub in the Midwest. While Liberty Logistics Park is still under construction, we believe our community values, location and ‘can do’ attitude are the differentiators that attract new businesses, like Kenco Logistics, to Liberty.”
Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.