South Carolina is holding its breath waiting for a decision about a $125 million investment from Chesapeake, Va.-based discount retail giant Dollar Tree, which is in talks about a 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center straddling Spartanburg and Cherokee Counties. Respective county councils agreed on incentive packages for the 400-job project Monday, paving the way for Dollar Tree’s 11th and largest national warehouse.
Dollar Tree did not return requests for comment by press time, but the retailer reportedly confirmed interest in the Upstate Corporate Park earlier this year, according to the Spartanburg Herald Journal.
“Every day people leave Spartanburg and go to work in Cherokee, and the same happens for people in Cherokee County working in Spartanburg,” said Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeffrey Horton. “We hope that we fill it up and it helps provide a lot of jobs for both communities, well-paying jobs.”
The Dollar Tree center wouldn’t be the first warehouse in the Upstate, which is home to giants such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Adidas, FedEx and Timken, said Carter Smith, vice president of Spartanburg’s development arm Economic Futures Group.
“There’s just a number of things that position us well for distribution operations,” said Smith, noting distributors take advantage of two major interstates, GSP International Airport and the Inland Port in Greer in addition to major rail options. “More or less, all four modes of transportation you can access through here.”
All that aside, the No. 1 need for these types of projects is workforce, said Spartanburg County Councilman David Britt, who also serves as chairman of the county’s economic recruitment and development efforts.
“Spartanburg Community College has been our ace in the hole,” he said about the five-location college, which he said would be a key in filling the project’s 400 jobs. “It helped us all the way back to BMW … The citizens, we all have put our money in the community college because we know the payback has been more than good. It’s been fantastic.”
The college offers certificates and associate degrees in 13 industries to its 5,864 students, according to data from U.S News and World Report, and operates a campus close to the proposed Dollar Tree center.
"That assures big companies that they will be able to get the training for the employees that they need,” said Horton. “We have a leg-up on a lot of states and counties because we have a good education program.”
View article as it appears on UpstateBusinessJournal.com