Retailer adds Wilson County distribution center

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ELM CITY — A national retailer has put a formerly vacant building back on the tax roll and added a few jobs to a small Wilson County town.

Advance Auto Parts recently opened a small distribution center at 6030 U.S. 301 to better serve the stores in the region.

“The facility in Elm City, which opened in July and employs less than 10 Advance Auto Parts team members, is part of a pilot program the company is running designed to improve product flow to customers,” said company spokesman Darryl Carr.

The project was a welcome one among Elm City officials.

“We’ve had right much to leave, so it is good to see something coming here,” said Elm City Commissioner Melvin Cooke.

Town Manager Jonathan Russell said company officials started making inquiries a few months ago about an Elm City location for a regional parts distribution center.

“I think the geography was favorable between U.S. 301, U.S. 64 and U.S. 264. It just made sense logistically,” Russell said. “We’re excited to have them and we’re really looking forward to working with them in the future.

“It is a benefit to the town and the entire region.”

Russell said town officials have had a number of people call the town about job opportunities.

“As this is a pilot program, we do not anticipate hiring any additional staff at this time,” Carr said. “As for the location itself, many factors are considered when choosing our distribution sites, which ultimately are selected to best serve our stores and customers, such as store and customer density, transportation routing, etc.”

The former Cox Media building had been vacant for about two years, but Russell noted some of the red tape that goes along with starting a business is lessened when working in a community the size of Elm City. Cooke emphasized the quality of Frederick Douglass Elementary and Elm City Middle School, noting schools are often factored into an employee’s decision to take a job.

“Elm City is a great bedroom community that is located halfway between Wilson and Rocky Mount,” he said. “If people like the small-town environment, Elm City is perfect, but it also has the benefits of big towns without much of a drive.”

Cooke added that officials have seen an uptick of interest recently among business owners looking to bring a drug store and a bank to town.

“I would say geography is one of Elm City’s biggest assets,” Russell said.