Qurate Retail Group, the corporation behind the HSN and QVC e-commerce companies, is opening up a new fulfillment center in Bethlehem at 3419 Commerce Center Blvd.
According to a company press release, the project is part of a series of new initiatives meant to foster long-term growth.
The first phase of these initiatives involves investing in “a new state-of-the-art fulfillment center in Bethlehem, (Pennsylvania).”
The center is expected to open in mid-to-late 2019 and be fully operational by 2020. Ultimately, the press release stated that the facility will provide between 1,200 and 1,500 jobs for the Lehigh Valley community and process, pack and ship around 25 percent of the network’s order volume.
Bethlehem offers many economic incentives for these types of companies.
“Basically, when you have a community that gets it, local government officials who understand why these things are helpful to the economy, that facilitates good relationships with developers and that really helps move these projects along,” said Colin McEvoy, the director of communications for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.
McEvoy said the workers at this facility will earn a starting wage of $15 per hour, $7.75 more than the state minimum in Pennsylvania.
Paige Van Wirt, a Bethlehem city councilwoman, is enthusiastic about the new facility.
“The location is terrific,” Van Wirt said. “We have places with lots of economic development incentives.”
The news is not all good, though.
As a result of the new center, Qurate Retail Group will be closing down its QVC fulfillment center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. They will also be closing their HSN fulfillment center in Roanoke, Virginia and their temporary fulfillment center operation in Greeneville, Tennessee. These closures will eliminate approximately 1,725 Qurate jobs.
“Our operations in Lancaster, Roanoke and Greeneville have served us well over the years and will continue to do so over the near-term,” said Bob Spieth, the chief operations officer of Qurate.
Employees who lose their jobs as a result of these initiatives will be given outplacement assistance, severance payments and will still receive some benefits.
The move is projected to save the company hundreds of millions of dollars in the future.