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Amazon, government officials open Winchester call center

August 16, 2013|By Casey Castle

Amazon’s permanent site for its customer service center has opened its doors, inviting community leaders to see inside the 80,000 square-foot facility Friday as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“You have welcomed us into your home, and we are humbled for it,” said Alex Krueger, Winchester site leader for Amazon. “Now we’re excited to welcome you into ours.”

Gov. Steve Beshear took part in the ceremony and thanked Amazon and its team for their confidence in Kentucky and its workforce.

“This is a tremendous day for Kentucky and for Winchester,” he said. “We’re happy to see Amazon continue to expand its footprint here in the Commonwealth.”

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Amazon opened a temporary facility in August 2012 in Winchester Plaza while construction began on the permanent building on Rolling Hills Lane. The new building features 960 call seats and a number of amenities, such as a game room, an outdoor patio area and a walking track.

The facility has approximately 300 employees. The workforce will grow with seasonal hires around the holidays, Krueger said. The building has room for expansion. For more information on job openings at the site, visit amazon.com/csjobs.

“It’s not everyday that our community gets to celebrate the opening for a company with the global name recognition of Amazon,” Winchester-Clark County Industrial Development Director Todd Denham said.

The customer service center receives calls from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Shifts are staggered throughout the day, Krueger said, scheduled to cover the busiest times. Employees provide customer service and technical support for Amazon.

The new center expands Amazon’s presence in the state, which already includes fulfillment centers in Lexington, Campbellsville, Louisville and Hebron. The customer service center is the first of its kind in the state.

“We have found tremendous talent in abundance in Winchester, and we’re so proud to be a part of the community,” Krueger said. “We’re glad to bring jobs and investment to the great Commonwealth of Kentucky.”

The quality of the area’s workforce was a common theme for most of the speakers at the ceremony.

“We can incentivize all we want, but if we don’t have a skilled, dedicated workforce to fill the spaces they need and do the jobs they offer, we would not be here,” Sen. R.J. Palmer said.

Krueger said Amazon is not content to just be in the community, but wants to also be a part of it. He said the company partnered with the Clark County campus of the Bluegrass Community Technical College System to help build an amphitheater. Second graders at Willis H. Justice Elementary were given 88 Kindle Fires by the company.

“Readers today are leaders tomorrow,” Krueger said.

The company also helped pay the entry fees for 40 children unable to afford to sign up for Little League.

“When you have a company the magnitude of Amazon and all the charities they’ve supported and helped, it demonstrates that (they) don’t just want to be a good member of the community, but (they) want to be a good corporate partner, and we appreciate that very much,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said.

Contact Casey Castle at ccastle@winchestersun.com or follow him on Twitter, @TheSunCasey.

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