A California-based e-commerce company is expanding to Forsyth County creating over 300 new jobs for the area.
Sports Warehouse, a global retail supplier of sports and outdoor equipment, will renovate an old post office in south Forsyth, turning it into a distribution center for their tennis and running equipment in the Southeast that will begin operations in July.
“We’re going to have a significant presence here,” said Drew Munster, president of Sports Warehouse. “Some of our staff is going to be moving and we’re going to be doing hiring, but the idea is just to grow.
“When we find what works here, we’re going to do more of it, and if something doesn’t work, we’ll do less of it. It’s not that complicated.”
Robert Long, vice president of economic development for the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, began working with Munster and Sports Warehouse in September to sell them on Forsyth County.
“I think once they start up here, they’ll see the quality of the workforce,” Long said at the official announcement at the City of Cumming’s Parks and Rec Community Center on Tuesday. “When you look at those talented positions that are either already here or you’re looking to recruit, I think we’re a good sell.”
An unusual aspect of this arrangement was that typically Forsyth County rents out industrial spaces, but Sports Warehouse wanted to purchase the property so an exception was made due to the amount of renovations the company plans to make to the building.
Munster says they plan to spend 10-12 weeks renovating the former post office and will begin hiring sometime in June.
“If you have common sense and a work ethic, we’ll find a spot for you,” said Munster.
Several factors went in to the decision to expand out of California, one of which was the cost of living for employees who are mainly younger college and post-graduate students who, according to Munster, can’t afford to buy a house or start a family on the West Coast.
The possibility for further expansion was also enticing to Munster. They are leasing most of their offices in California, so the plan is to consolidate some of the West Coast operations and build upon their new East Coast hub in Forsyth County where many of their suppliers in Jacksonville, Charlotte, Nashville, etc. can receive their product via free overnight ground services.
“We took a map of where our customers are,” said Munster about their search for an expansion location. “We also took a map of where our retail competition would be and we started to see a basic triangle northeast of Atlanta.”
Munster and his staff explored options in Alpharetta, as well as a couple potential locations in Gwinnett before determining that Forsyth County would be the best fit.
“This feels like we can build a nice successful business here,” Munster said.
Plans for the south Forsyth facility include the option within the county’s code to expand the existing building. There is also an adjacent property that could serve as an additional distribution center should Sports Warehouse decide to transfer move of their products and services to Georgia.
Next on the list is fishing equipment.