Walmart closing fulfillment center in Salem County — offers employees strong incentive to move with company to Pennsylvania

Arkansas-based retailer will offer displaced employees $7,500 and relocation expenses to move to state-of-the-art facility that’s 170 miles away in Greencastle

Walmart will close its fulfilment center in the Salem County town of Pedrickstown next month, shifting the work done there to a brand new, state-of-the-art, 1.5 million-square-feet facility in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, a company spokesperson told ROI-NJ on Wednesday.

And, while the locations are approximately 170 miles apart, the company is hoping to persuade employees to go to Pennsylvania, too — offering a $7,500 bonus, plus relocation, to those associates willing to make the move.

It’s unclear how many employees work at the Pedrickstown location, but a Walmart spokesperson said it is “far below” the approximately 1,000 employees the new location is expected to need.

Employees at the Pedrickstown location were told of the company’s plans Wednesday morning.

A Walmart spokesperson said the decision was not based on taxes or ability to find employes, but that it is being made to move to a modern facility to increase productivity.

“To deliver packages to customers with greater speed, we are relocating operations from our traditional fulfillment center located at 2 Gateway Blvd. in Pedricktown, New Jersey, to our brand-new next generation fulfillment center in Greencastle,” the Walmart spokesperson told ROI-NJ.

“In these facilities, they’ll receive on-the-job training to work with the most advanced fulfillment technology.  We’re grateful for the contributions our associates make to our customers every day and are hopeful they will continue their careers with Walmart.”

The Walmart spokesperson said those who work in the Pennsylvania facility will find a newly designed work environment powered by state-of-the-art technology. The facility is described as a place that prioritizes associate comfort.

For example, in a typical traditional fulfillment center, such as Pedrickstown, it is not uncommon for an associate to walk up to nine miles with every shift as they’re fulfilling orders. In the new next-gen facility, associates will be standing at ergonomically designed workstation and all the products will come directly to them.

The spokesperson said the new advanced fulfillment technology center, with its state-of-the art technology, will help Walmart get orders to its customers with greater speed and efficiency — which, in turn, helps keep prices low.

The Walmart spokesperson said the fulfillment centers use the powerful combination of people, robotics and machine learning to set an entirely new precedent on the speed of fulfillment while continuing to create a positive work environment for its associates.

The Walmart spokesperson said the company is proud of the work that its associates do at the Pedrickstown facility and want them to continue their careers with Walmart. The company also is offering relocation bonuses for employees to move to their three other next-generation fulfillment centers — in Joliet, Illinois;  Lancaster, Texas; and McCordsville, Indiana.

“We’re really grateful for their contributions through the years,” the spokesperson said. “We’re hopeful that they’re going to continue their careers with us at Walmart and join us at the new facility in Greencastle.”

State Sen. John Burzichelli (D-Glassboro), who represents the district, said the loss of any business is tough.

“I’m always unhappy to hear of an employer closing down for whatever reason,” he said. “The first worry is for the people that are displaced, as they try to figure out how to take care of their families.”

Burzichelli, who said he was just hearing the news, said he had no insights on why the decision was made, but speculated it was for corporate reasons.

“Our landscape here has empty warehouses being built on spec,” he said. “So, it seems to me, that this move has more to do with logistics and location than it does being unhappy being located in Salem County.”