NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - The first Amazon fulfillment center to open in Northeast Ohio has been shipping products for more than a year.
The North Randall Amazon Fulfillment Center opened at the former site of Randall Park Mall on September 15, 2018.
Amazon allowed reporters inside for a behind-the-scenes tour Wednesday for the first time since the facility began operations.
With more than 2,000 full-time employees, the center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The 855,000 square foot facility is a maze of conveyor belts, robots and workers preparing Amazon orders for delivery. The conveyor belts would stretch farther than 10 miles if laid in a straight line.
“If you're in Cleveland, it's likely a product could come from this building, and if you see the letters CLE 2, it means we probably shipped it from here,” said Amazon North Randall General Manager Mark Huber.
Products delivered to the center are scanned and then become available online. After an Amazon customer clicks to buy it, robotic carts move the product to an employee who places it onto a chain of conveyor belts.
Through the conveyor belt process, products are packaged, labeled and sorted to be shipped to buyers.
Hundreds of robots help the facility process more than 100,000 products every day.
“Amazon has always been focused, when we introduce technology, on making our associates' jobs safer and more productive,” Huber said.
The North Randall facility was the first Amazon distribution center to open in Northeast Ohio. There is another facility in Twinsburg, and a fulfillment center opened last month at the former site of Euclid Square Mall in Euclid.
Work is currently underway to build a fulfillment center at the site of Rolling Acres Mall in Akron.
North Randall Mayor David Smith said Amazon’s presence has turned the village around. Randall Park Mall sat vacant for years.
“It has had a huge impact. Our income has increased by 70 percent,” he said.
Despite a 75-percent property tax abatement offered by the village and Warrensville Heights City Schools as an incentive for Amazon to build in North Randall, Smith said the village is bringing in millions of dollars annually in new income tax revenue as a result.
It has enabled the village to buy new equipment and develop plans to build a new village hall in 2021.
“We've been able to actually buy new equipment for our service department, for our police department and our fire department. It's just been overwhelming,” Smith said.
During a ceremonial grand opening Wednesday, Amazon presented a $20,000 check to Warrensville Heights City Schools for use in STEM programming and college readiness.