Online retailer Amazon is ready to add 500 jobs in coming months at its distribution center near Cayce, some Midlands business and political leaders said Monday.
The Seattle-based company told those officials about its plan during the weekend.
Its decision apparently brings the full-time staff close to 2,500 workers, one source close to the company said. Hundreds of temporary workers also are hired yearly.
Amazon seldom specifies the size of its payroll for competitive reasons. And staff fluctuation is common among retailers.
But its employment has been monitored by local officials since the center opened in 2011 as one of the largest commercial projects to settle in the area.
The expansion “is a pretty big shot in the arm for our local economy,” said Randy Halfacre, president of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
Efforts to reach company officials Monday on the reported expansion were unsuccessful.
At times in 2013, the full- and part-time staff at the center was large enough that Amazon rented parking spaces for its workers at the State Farmers Market in nearby Dixiana and bused them to and from the facility, officials have said.
Meanwhile, Lexington County officials have quietly put a site adjoining the center back on the market, after waiting to see whether Amazon would add another facility at its 1-million-square-foot site near I-77 and Old Wire Road.
The staff addition comes as a sales tax exemption, given to the company in a package of incentives to come to South Carolina, is set to expire Dec. 31.
That exemption allows the company to sell merchandise to state residents without collecting sales taxes, although it is required to send those customers an annual reminder of taxes due.
The break was adopted despite complaints from other retailers that it gave Amazon an advantage.
It’s unknown whether the expansion also means new jobs at another distribution center in the Upstate in Spartanburg County, officials said.
The new wave of hiring is a second payoff in landing Amazon, Halfacre said.
“It solidifies them here,” he said. “It’s a very welcome surprise.”