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City of Coffeyville looks back at former Amazon fulfillment center

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:53 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - On Monday, Wichita and Kansas leaders announced that a new Amazon warehouse coming to Park City by 2021, bringing 500 new jobs. That kind of announcement is familiar to the city of Coffeyville.

Amazon opened a fulfillment center in Montgomery County in 1999 bringing 1,000 jobs to the rural community.

“It was extremely exciting, Amazon at that time was an up and coming company, they were growing rapidly,” said Trisha Purdon, Executive Director for the Montgomery Action Council.

Susan Joplin, a former Amazon employee said it was a great opportunity for the area.

“It was good for the community," said Joplin. “They provided a lot of jobs.”

By 2014, it didn’t turn out as expected. Amazon said it was considering leaving the community. After announcing its departure, the company left the community hurting.

“That was pretty brutal, "said Purdon. “The service sector really took the hit. It hit our restaurants, it hurt our grocery stores. They really took the pun of this loss and it took them a long time to recover.”

Purdon said Coffeyville just wasn’t the right fit for the company. The former Interim City Manager, James Grimmett agrees.

“When they left it was because Amazon wanted to be in the metropolitan market where they could do same-day delivery," said Grimmett.

Even though the Amazon fulfillment center in Coffeyville didn’t work out in the long run, both Purdon and Grimmett said they think the warehouse being built in Park City is the right fit for the community.

“When you’re talking about needing an instant delivery, you have a much tighter circle of population, obviously, in Wichita than you do here in Montgomery County," said Purdon.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for Wichita,” said Grimmett." For Amazon, a company of their stature, to even be in Kansas. So, congratulations Wichita!"

The former Amazon fulfillment center in Coffeyville was taken over in January of 2020 by Phoenix Investors and is being leased by Array Technology for its solar panel component distribution.

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