Governor Gilmore Announces Multimillion Dollar Expansion for eTOYS
-- Inaugurates East Coast Distribution Facility in Pittsylvania County - -
Blairs County - At a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Southside Virginia, Governor Jim Gilmore today announced that eToys Inc., a leading Internet retailer of children's products, will expand its Pittsylvania County distribution center. Fully operational since March, eToys' facilities will process and ship the bulk of the company's customer orders in the eastern half of the U.S. well in advance of the 2000 holiday season. Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal also attended today's ceremony.
"This expansion confirms that all regions of the Commonwealth can prosper in economic development," Governor Gilmore said. "eToys now has better access to their East Coast markets and will benefit from hiring Virginia's skilled workers. This decision also reinforces my administration's commitment to assisting technology firms in their quest for growth."
The distribution complex covers roughly 1.2 million square feet in two companion buildings and employs state-of-the-art automated and manual operations. eToys first announced the Virginia location in May 1999. The company began shipping orders from its first facility in late March and recently completed construction on the second site, which is dedicated to receiving and storing inventory. During peak season, the Blairs facilities are expected to pick, pack and ship more than 100,000 items per day, including toys, books, videos and baby products. The operations make use of automated sortation and conveyance for increased productivity. Shipments will be made by world-class providers FedEx, UPS and the United States Postal Service, using a combination of air and ground transport that will operate seven days a week during the holiday season.
"Today is a milestone in the evolution of our company," said eToys President and CEO Toby Lenk. "Building a national distribution capability, with strong operations close to our customers, has been a strategic priority for us. The Blairs facilities, coupled with our Southern California hub, positions us extremely well coming into the holiday season and gives us ample fulfillment capacity for at least the next two years."
"eToys' new distribution center joins an impressive list of similar facilities across the Commonwealth," said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Barry E. DuVal. "Virginia's positive business climate is already fostering a successful environment for this leader in electronic commerce."
Governor Gilmore approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to assist Pittsylvania County with site preparation for the original building. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Pittsylvania County assisted eToys with its decision to locate in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance is providing workforce training services to the company.
Based in Santa Monica, CA, eToys Inc. (www.eToys.com; www.eToys.co.uk; AOL Keyword eToys) is the premier Internet retailer for children's products with an extensive selection of both nationally advertised and specialty toys, software, books, videos, music, video games, and baby-oriented products. By combining this extensive selection, with helpful and fun ideas and award-winning customer service, eToys offers consumers a unique one-stop source for children's products. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, BabyCenter, Inc. (www.babycenter.com), eToys offers Webby-award winning content and community, as well as an extensive selection of merchandise for new and expectant parents.