News : More Call Center Jobs
May 9, 2012 -- Local and state officials have put everything in place to land 350 additional jobs at the Walgreens Customer Care Center in Muscle Shoals.
In the Alabama Legislature, it became the battle that should have never been.
As state legislators clamored to create new jobs in a struggling economy, they looked fully capable of losing a promising project that could put 350 people to work.
The situation made no sense to those of us in the Shoals, who understood the importance of a proposed expansion of the Walgreens Customer Care Center in Muscle Shoals.
To their credit, the local legislative delegation kept pushing the project despite opposition from the state Board of Pharmacy. The board sought oversight of the facility. The legislative delegation solved the dispute by creating a pharmacy service permit that will allow the call center to continue operating.
The center, which has been in Southgate Mall since 2004, already employs 220 people. Walgreens wants to expand its operation and is considering Muscle Shoals along with a location in Florida.
The expanded operation would employ another 350 workers, with most starting at about $10 an hour. The company would invest $3.47 million, including property and equipment.
The city of Muscle Shoals and Shoals Economic Development Authority have worked hard to create an incentives package for Walgreens. It includes the abatement of noneducational property, construction sales and use taxes for 10 years. The total abatement amounts to $69,021.
That is a small trade-off for local governments to make in exchange for a project that would add more than $7 million in annual payroll to the Shoals economy after the third year.
The local and state officials who have fought to make this happen deserve a hardy pat on the back. Now, it is up to Walgreens.
We appreciate the positive presence of this clean industry in the Shoals and encourage the company to take advantage of the local workforce and the difficult efforts made to prepare for the expansion.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Walgreen Co., doing business as Walgreens, is the largest drug retailing chain in the United States.
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
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