Amazon's Christmas gift: $270M in four new facilities

Nathan Pensky · December 22, 2011 · Short URL:

Construction on Amazon's new facilities in Virginia and Tennessee to finish by end of 2012

Here's a nice holiday tech story, concerning one of the biggest e-retailers on the Web, which we can now all feel a little better about using to purchase our holiday gift items. Of course, I'm talking about Amazon, which announced Thursday that it would invest $270 million to open four new distribution centers, two in Virginia and two in Tennessee.

The new Amazon facilities will complete construction right around the time of the 2012 holiday season and will create 2,650 jobs for the communities in which they are built.

Aww, it's a (future) Christmas miracle!

The governer of Virginia, Bob McDonald, approved $3.5 million in land grants toward the project -- because of course he did -- through his state's‘Governor’s Opportunity Fund’ to infuse jobs and commerce into Virginia's Chesterfield County and Dinwiddie County. The new facilities in Tennessee will complement existing outlets in Wilson, Hamilton and Bradley Counties.

Hearing about all those new jobs has already done wonders to assuage my guilt for buying most of my holiday gifts through Amazon, even in spite of their extremely shady business tactics against brick-and-morter bookstores, which of course are already hurting from having to compete with Amazon's widely popular e-commerce model.

Amazon recently ran a promotion, in which customers could use their Price Check app to scan select retail items while browsing in actual brick-and-morter bookstores, and if customers bought them in that location, they would receive a 5% discount. Many Amazon customers saw this promotion as going beyond the realm of competitive business practices, and saw it more as a huge corporation rubbing their hugeness in the faces of already beleagured brick-and-morter book industry.

But as Amazon's press releases about these shiny, new facilities have emerged on literally the last day to order items from their site and have them mailed in time for Christmas -- what a conincedence! -- I guess we can all feel a lot better about shopping through Amazon, right? I mean, Amazon does have a huge selection, much more than actual brick-and-morter retail stores around the corner, and they're super convenient and often have much lower prices.

So, especially since they're "investing in communities" by creating jobs in Virginia and Tennessee, I guess we shouldn't worry about those businesses in our own local community and beat the holiday rush by shopping on Amazon, right?

I'm guessing that's exactly what Amazon is thinking.

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