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Amazon closes Durham warehouse, sites across state see delays, changes

<p>An Amazon Fulfillment Center in Shakopee, Minnesota.&nbsp;</p>

An Amazon Fulfillment Center in Shakopee, Minnesota. 

Amazon has been delaying the opening of warehouses, canceling production of new warehouses and closing existing ones across the country more than ever before. As part of these changes, three stations in North Carolina — Greensboro, Enka Village and Durham — have been affected. 

Amazon’s DRT1 delivery station in East Durham along North Hoover Road began wrapping up operations in July and is now closed. This 260,000-square-foot center opened in 2019 as Durham's first Amazon delivery center and once supported over 400 jobs.

Amazon spokesperson Steve Kelly told ABC 11 that the delivery station was closed as part of an effort to “improve the experience for our employees, partners, drivers, and customers” through upgrading the facilities. Currently, the DRT8, a nearby station, is taking on many of the services that were once operated by the DRT1.

Amazon is making similar moves across the country. Kelly told WRAL TechWire that Durham employees were offered “the opportunity to transfer to several different delivery stations close by.”

After rapidly opening warehouses across North Carolina during the COVID-19 pandemic, online commerce sale decreases have led to cutbacks. This comes at a time where high inflation and decreasing COVID-19 cases have caused customers to shop more in stores while reducing their online spending. 

Thus Amazon found itself with “too much space…versus our demand patterns,” CFO Brian Olsavsky told CNBC in April. 

A planned Greensboro site was canceled in September, while the Enka Village warehouse was delayed. 

A spokesperson for Amazon told WRAL TechWire that a new station is still set to open in Wilmington. Their main objective is to close some old sites while opening up more modern ones, many of which are currently under construction. 

According to WRAL TechWire, as of Sept. 2021, Amazon planned to hire as many as 6,000 people in North Carolina, with relatively new sites in Cumberland County and Cary. Amazon still has plans to expand in Johnston County.

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