As many as 400 jobs will be created by a new Urban Outfitters call center coming to Columbia County.
The company will open the customer care center with 200 initial hires by Aug. 1 in the former Mike’s Furniture store on Bobby Jones Expressway and expects to create 400 jobs within the next five years, Urban Outfitter’s contact center director Bryan Whitney said in a news release Friday.
Employees will serve the retailer’s “direct business” segment, fielding calls from customers placing orders and seeking assistance.
Urban Outfitters is a specialty clothing and lifestyle company with a strong online presence and stores throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The company also owns the Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN brands.
Urban Outfitters has operated an Edgefield County call center in Trenton, S.C., since 2005.
“The Columbia County location will play a significant role in Urban Outfitters’ goal of building a unique work environment where we can assemble a team that believes in creating a compelling and distinct experience for our customers,” Whitney said.
The company’s decision to locate its call center in the vacant 40,000-square-foot Martinez storefront was aided by the county’s new “opportunity zone” designation, which applies to a commercial corridor off Bobby Jones Expressway and Washington Road where older buildings coexist with new construction.
“This is the first business to take advantage of the opportunity zone,” said Robbie Bennett, the executive director of Columbia County’s Development Authority. “I think as we move forward the opportunity zone will play a big impact in companies coming here.”
The zone offers state tax credits for businesses relocating or expanding in the area. For each job created, a tax break of $3,500 is given as long as at least two positions are developed.
The summer opening of a Carolina Pottery store in the former Kmart in West Town Shopping Center also will be able to take advantage of the zone, officials have said.
“Securing Urban Outfitters was a team effort that included business leaders, the Development Authority, Columbia County government and the state of Georgia,” Columbia County Development Authority Chairman Mark Wills said in a statement. “Urban Outfitters is a great addition to the corporate community of Columbia County. They are a high-quality company that will be a strong asset for many years to come.”