Amazon Fulfillment Center hosts ribbon cutting ceremony

Even though it’s already had it’s soft opening, the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sioux Falls now officially open for business.
Published: Jan. 15, 2023 at 7:58 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Even though it’s already had it’s soft opening, the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sioux Falls now officially open for business.

It’s been a long journey for FSD1 General Manager Tim Choate to Sioux Falls, making his career in Amazon. Now with South Dakota’s first fulfillment center operational, he’s looking forward to finally putting the facility to use.

“I started 10 years ago as an associate. So right off of the street packing a box, and I was able to work my way up,” Choate said. “When I first got here in September, not being able to get something in two days blew my mind. So we are here to deliver to South Dakota, so we can have it the next day.”

Same-day delivery on select items is expected to begin this week, and the rest of the region can expect to have the option of two-day shipping on many more products.

“When we did a soft launch in October, we were only bringing in about 10 trucks a day. We know have the ability to ship out 20 trucks a day, hoping to ramp up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 trucks a day in the next few weeks,” Choate said. “We are 20 percent full. We have about 11 million units. Hoping to get up to 22, 23, 24 million units very shortly.”

“Now I come home and there’s a stack of Amazon boxes on my garage floor. But the rest of the story is, now about half of them are mine.” Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden said.

The official opening of the facility is a dream come true for city officials, as the plans to bring Amazon to Sioux Falls was a light that many looked towards during the early stage of the pandemic.

“At the time, it was hard to believe that anyone was going to look at investing in South Dakota, because at that time we were all worried that businesses were just going to be drying up. It’s hard to remember 2020, but if you think back to that time, it was, ‘How are we going to just keep the lights on to keep businesses open?’” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

Choate says around 300 people are currently employed at the facility, but they’re well short of their goal to have around 1,500 workers on staff. That’s even with a majority of the sorting and loading done by robots.

“Where as before an associate would take a package to a truck, now we have a robot that will take that package to a truck. We would have an associate walk and find something, we have a robot bring that product to an associate.” Choate said.

Choate said even by the end of this week, they hope to have more of the facility up and running, and he said it will be a process over the beginning of this year as they hire more employees to staff the center.