Now open: Amazon fires up Gaines Township delivery hub

Kent County

A courtesy photo shows Amazon employees outside the new Gaines Township fulfillment center. (Amazon)

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly two years after the speculation started, Amazon has opened its fulfillment center in southern Kent County.

Amazon says it officially welcomed hundreds of new employees inside the 855,000-square-foot Gaines Township facility Sunday for the first day of operation.

The fulfillment center at 68th Street and Patterson Avenue will be a hub for Amazon employees to piece together, pack and ship orders to customers. However, an Amazon official said as of Tuesday, the first package had not yet shipped.

Employees signed robot equipment as part of Sunday’s opening day festivities.

An Amazon employee signs robotic equipment inside the new Gaines Township facility on opening day. (Amazon)

Only about 15% of Amazon’s fulfillment centers worldwide use the robotics system inside the Gaines Township facility. An Amazon spokesperson says the robots know when and where to place products based on current customer demand.

Amazon declined to respond Tuesday as to whether the Gaines Township facility will offer Amazon Prime Air drone delivery service, saying “we don’t comment on (our) future roadmap.”

Reports of Amazon opening a $150 million fulfillment center in the Kentwood area first surfaced in March 2018. When Amazon officially announced its plans three months later, the online retail giant estimated the new warehouse would create 1,000 jobs.

Amazon is still looking to fill some positions at the facility. The company offers a $15 hourly minimum wage as well as health care the first day on the job. Amazon employees also get a 401(k) with a 50% match, up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave and a program that prepays 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields, including nursing, game design, IT programming and radiology. Those interested can apply online at http://amazondelivers.jobs/.

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