eBay will expand its operations in Henry County, adding 191 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of more than $4 million and investing $5.8 million in capital improvements, officials announced Thursday.
The expansion will make eBay the second-largest non-service employer in the region after Eastman Chemical Company, according to Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp.
The company will move into a 400,000-square foot facility on Joseph Martin Highway in Ridgeway, where it already has other operations. It will make improvements to the building — the work already has begun — and also put in materials-handling equipment.
The new facility will receive merchandise from client businesses, fulfill orders and ship them. It will service client businesses including Bath & Body works, Stein Mart and The Company Store.
The new facility is expected to be up and running by mid-July, according to Kim Smith-Glisson, the company's director of operations for the region. The company already has begun recruiting for a manager and four supervisors, she added.
eBay will receive a $710,000 grant from the Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to help with the cost of the expansion. It also will benefit from tax rebates under the county's Enterprise Zone program; it will get a rebate of 100 percent of taxes paid to the county in the first year and 50 percent in the following four years. eBay also will receive state assistance through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.
The expansion will bring eBay's combined presence in the area to 1.3 million square feet and just under 500 full-time employees, according to Smith-Glisson. eBay also has operations in the Bowles Industrial Park near Patrick Henry Community College.
H.G. Vaughn, chairman of the Henry County Board of Supervisors, called it "another great day for our community" in announcing the expansion at a news conference at the county's administration building. He congratulated the company on its expansion and praised the region's workforce, the tobacco commission, state officials and others for their various roles in the business expansion. "Economic development is a team effort," he said.
Prior to the news conference, the board of supervisors and the county's Industrial Development Authority each voted unanimously to approve a performance agreement with eBay.
The company will announce plans for a job fair in a few weeks at Patrick Henry Community College to begin recruiting workers.