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Amazon announced Wednesday morning its plans to open a fulfillment center in Auburndale.

According to the announcement, when the site opens, Amazon will create more than 500 full-time jobs — starting at $15 an hour — with comprehensive benefits.

Employees at the more than one million-square-foot fulfillment center will pick, pack and ship large customer items, such as sports equipment, patio furniture, fishing rods, pet food, kayaks, bicycles and larger household goods. Amazon currently employs more than 13,500 full-time associates throughout the state of Florida.

“We are excited to join the Auburndale community and create more than 500 new, full-time jobs with industry-leading pay and benefits at our newest fulfillment center in the state,” said Alicia Boler Davis, Amazon’s vice president of global customer fulfillment. “Florida has been a source of exceptional talent for Amazon and the Sunshine state is an ideal location to provide great selection, competitive prices and superfast shipping speeds to Floridians.”

State and local leaders are hailing the announcement as a “big win” with plenty of economic upside.

“Amazon’s new distribution center in Auburndale is a big win for Polk County and our entire state,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We are grateful that Amazon recognizes Florida’s investment value and look forward to the economic benefits and job opportunities this new center will provide for our residents.”

Amazon currently has a $15 minimum wage and the company offers full-time employees comprehensive benefits including full medical, vision and dental insurance, as well as a 401(k) with 50 percent. The company also offers up to 20 weeks of maternal and parental paid leave and benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families.

The announcement signifies continued investment by the online retailer in Polk County.

“Amazon has been an impactful employer providing good jobs and expanded tax base for Polk County citizens,” said George Lindsey, Chairman for Polk County Board of County Commissioners. “They continue to invest in our community further strengthening our economic prosperity. … We look forward to continued collaboration and success.”

“Auburndale is pleased to have Amazon join the family of businesses that call our City home,” said Tim Pospichal, Mayor of Auburndale. “We look forward to the opportunities this fulfillment center will provide the residents of our City.”

According to the release, Amazon’s fulfillment network supports millions of businesses of all sizes through its Fulfillment By Amazon offering, and many of those local organizations are based in Florida.

Amazon staff say there are more than 139,000 authors, small and medium-sized businesses, and developers in Florida growing their companies and reaching new customers on Amazon products and services.

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