Last week’s announcement by Tractor Supply Inc. that it will build a $100 million distribution center in Maumelle highlighted central Arkansas’ recent emergence as a hub for retail distribution and fulfillment centers.
In December, Arkansas Business reported on Dollar General’s plans to build a $140 million warehouse distribution center in North Little Rock. And in the last few years, retailing leviathan Amazon has made clear it favors the region by locating a 3.6 million-SF fulfillment center at the Little Rock Port and a $105 million 1 million-SF non-sortable center in North Little Rock.
This is an Opinion
These multimillion-dollar projects are adding up to thousands of jobs. Tractor Supply expects to employ 450 full-time workers. Dollar General has said it will create 300 jobs at first and as many as 600 eventually. And Amazon employs 2,000 workers at the port facility and 500 in North Little Rock.
There are two main reasons for the growth of the area as the center of a distribution network.
First is the region’s location and transportation infrastructure. North Little Rock sits at the junction of Interstate 40, one of the nation’s primary east-west routes, and Interstate 30, the route to Dallas-Fort Worth, and thousands of trucks pass through every day. Central Arkansas also has the benefit of the constantly improving facilities of the Little Rock Port on the Arkansas River and Clinton National Airport.
The second reason is the increasing importance of e-commerce, which has only intensified with the pandemic. Consumers want to be able to buy almost anything from the comfort of their homes and have it quickly delivered to their doorsteps. Retailers aiming to accommodate them must locate facilities where that promise of quick delivery can be fulfilled. And that has come to mean central Arkansas.
We wouldn’t be surprised to see more companies find fulfillment here.