SOUTH FORSYTH – There are many warehouses in Forsyth County, but one in particular has local officials excited.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce held a welcoming at the city of Cumming’s parks and recreation conference center on Pilgrim Mill Road for e-commerce company Sports Warehouse, a California-based company which recently announced its decision to open an east coast hub in Forsyth County.
“We’re looking to do all of our growth in Georgia. In California, right now we’re renting a couple of buildings; we own one main building that is a little bit bigger than the one we own here and one that’s kind of a smaller set of buildings,” said Drew Munster, president of Sports Warehouse.
“We’re kind of hoping that as we lighten the load in our main building, we will be able to do some consolidations in California and the growth would be here in Georgia.”
Sports Warehouse is projected to spend about $14 million on the move and will renovate a building in south Forsyth at 1295 Bluegrass Lakes Parkway.
The project will bring an estimated more than 300 jobs.
“As always, the county struggles and works hard to bring other companies into the county,” Forsyth County Commission Chairman Todd Levent said. “This is a wonderful thing that is coming to or county. We appreciate the job opportunities for our citizens that are coming up with this new move and I’m glad you picked District 3 [Levent’s district], as well.”
Forsyth County was competing with other areas in metro-Atlanta and Nashville, Orlando and Charlotte.
The company, coined as a “global retail supplier of sports and outdoor equipment,” also does business as Tennis Warehouse, Running Warehouse, Tackle Warehouse, Skate Warehouse, Inline Warehouse, Ice Warehouse, Derby Warehouse, Riding Warehouse, Art’s Cyclery, Racquetball Warehouse and Total Pickleball.
“We’re the largest tennis e-commerce company in the world,” Munster said. “We’re based in San Luis Obispo, California … we also have offices in Germany and Australia, but a lot of our supplies are here on the east coast, as are a lot of customers.”
Tennis Warehouse and Running Warehouse will be moving to Forsyth.
“Tennis and running, that’s the tip of the spear, if you will,” Munster said. “As we perfect things here, then we would like to roll other things in.”
Munster said the company is looking at expansion options and that Tackle Warehouse could come next.
The company is also looking to hire locally for jobs in distribution, operations and customer service, particularly recent college graduates.
Construction and renovation is expected to take about three months and hires will be made this summer.
“We’ve got ideally 10-12 weeks of construction to do. We’re doing a fairly large remodel we are kind of in the design phase of right now, then there’s some permitting that has to happen and the warehouse buildout,” Munster said. “Ideally, we’d be hiring sometime in June. You want to do it as quick as you can, but you want to be realistic about it.”
Previously, the development was called “Project Deuce” to protect the name of the company as Forsyth was being considered.
County commissioners moved forward with right of way abandonment for the unpaved and undeveloped portion of Jones Road at a recent work session, and the county’s development authority approved an inducement resolution, the first step toward a bond for property tax, for the company.
Robert Long, the Chamber’s vice president of economic development, said the Chamber had been working on the project since September 2016.
“Every project is a little bit different,” Long said. “Obviously, it was building-driven, so they had already narrowed it down, at least their Forsyth County option, to a specific building, that they obviously made the decision to relocate in.”
Long said e-commerce companies are growing in popularity for Forsyth County.
“For us, this is a fairly large project,” he said. “Without the interstate, we don’t see projects of this size very often, so it was very exciting from that perspective … We have a lot of smaller companies that do e-commerce here.”
“Unlike a traditional distribution center, there’s a technical component with an e-commerce company that there is a comfort level that they can get those technical positions here that they might have difficulty finding elsewhere in Georgia."