published Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Amazon to offer public tours of Chattanooga facility

Amazon’s Chattanooga distribution center is one of just six of its more than 60 facilities nationwide, and the first in Tennessee, that will open up to public tours starting in May.

The nation’s No. 1 online retailer plans to begin the tours at the facility, which is about the size of 28 football fields, starting May 6, said Amazon spokeswoman Nina Lindsey.

Tours will be held, free of charge, every first and third Tuesday starting May 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lindsey said.

“We’re excited for customers to see first-hand what goes on,” she said.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, who toured the Enterprise South industrial park site earlier this year, said he was told the facility is Amazon’s most productive in terms of the number of items processed per hour.

For school groups, he said, they’ll see the technology the company uses to pick items for shipment.

“There’s an app that tells its people where to go and where to pick an item in the most efficient manner,” Berke said.

Lindsey said the other locations opening for tours in May are in Chester, Va.; Middletown, Del.; Jeffersonville, Ind.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and San Bernadino, Calif. More of its distribution centers may open up to tours later, she said.

To reserve a tour, go online to amazon.com/fctours. The company will send a confirmation email with information such as the building’s address, where to park and other details. Tours will last about one hour and are available for ages 6 and up.

Lindsey said the optimal size of a tour is 30 people, but the company can accommodate larger groups.

Amazon has invested in excess of $139 million in Southeast Tennessee with its facilities in Chattanooga and Charleston, Tenn. It has built five distribution centers in all in Tennessee since early 2011.

During the pre-Christmas sales peak last year, the company had more than 5,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees in Chattanooga and Charleston.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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