The Savannah Economic Development Authority on Tuesday recognized two businesses that are collectively bringing more than 200 new jobs online.
Shaw Industries, which relocated its Southeast distribution center from Columbia, S.C., to Savannah in 2013, changed its business model last year to make Savannah more of a hub for Eastern distribution, said Kyle Harding, Shaw’s Savannah operations manager.
“This time last year, we had 36 employees in Savannah,” he said. “Today, that number stands at 123 and we’re still growing.
“Our distribution footprint, which was about 430,000 square feet early last year, is just shy of a million square feet today, scattered across six leased facilities up and down Jimmy DeLoach Parkway and Highway 21,” Harding said, adding that the growth has prompted the company to consider consolidation.
“We are now in the very final stages of a deal for a 1 million-square-foot, build-to-suit facility. By about this time next year, we expect to have approximately 1.4 million square feet.”
Harding had high praise for business partners Crown Transportation and Georgia Ports Authority, adding that he was proud of the caliber of workforce the company has been able to recruit.
“Our people are phenomenal,” he said.
“Between the port, our transportation partners and our quality workforce, we feel that we’ve laid the foundation for tremendous success in Savannah for a long time to come.”
Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson agreed.
“Manufacturing remains one of Georgia’s strongest sectors,” Wilson said.
“By taking advantage of Quick Start, the nation’s No. 1 workforce training program, as well as having direct access to a skilled workforce and thriving business environment in Savannah, it’s clear that Georgia is the right spot for Shaw Floors to continue to expand operations.”
Walmart, too, is adding jobs in Savannah.
“This is not a new facility – we’ve been using it for several years, but another logistics company has been running it for us. Now we are going to be running it ourselves,” said Kara Carroll, a 25-year Walmart employee who will be the new logistics facilities manager in Savannah.
While Walmart will retain some 30 jobs currently in place, the goal is to staff up to 130 full-time positions, said Christina Burrell, HR manager for the facility.
“The company is currently recruiting for the positions, she said.
Brandt Herndon, vice president of business development for SEDA, reminded the board that, while announcements of new companies are exciting, 65-percent-to-70-percent of local jobs are created by existing companies.
These are the companies that are our bread and butter,” he said.
SEDA president and CEO Trip Tollison said the announcements by Shaw Floors and Walmart Logistics are a strong indication of the economic growth the region is experiencing.
“With the Port of Savannah, a strong workforce and vast infrastructure, Savannah continues to be a place where companies want to grow and locate,” he said.
In other SEDA business, board chairman Steve Green congratulated Scott Center, chairman of the World Trade Center Savannah, for his election to the World Trade Center International Board of Directors and welcomed new board member John Paul Rowan, vice president of the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Walmart Logistics is now hiring for Savannah Distribution Center #7086.
Apply online at walmart.com/careers
For more information, call 912-871-4000.