Will 900 new jobs in Jackson County lead Hunter Bicknell to one new job in DC?

On Friday, Gov. Deal’s office sent out a press release announcing 900 new jobs in Jackson County, just up I-85 from Gwinnett County.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced today that Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. will open an e-commerce fulfillment center in Pendergrass in Jackson County. Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. will create up to 900 jobs over four years, and invest approximately $50 million. The company plans to be operational by summer 2012.

“Georgia’s ability to attract industry-leading businesses is affirmed when we can successfully help a thriving company like Bed Bath & Beyond carry out its plans for business expansion right here in our state,” Deal said. “Bed Bath & Beyond will certainly benefit not only from our competitive business climate and workforce, but also our widely recognized logistics infrastructure that will help the company efficiently meet the distribution needs of its growing e-commerce business.”

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.’s Jackson County e-commerce fulfillment center will service the company’s expanding online sales operations. The company currently operates 29 retail stores in Georgia and has more than 1,150 stores total. Bed Bath & Beyond also plans to make considerable use of Georgia’s world-class container port facilities in Savannah.

But the real money quote comes several paragraphs later.

“We are proud to welcome Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. to Jackson County. What a tremendous boost for Jackson County, the surrounding region and the State of Georgia,” said Hunter Bicknell, chairman of the Jackson County Commission. “Even during these trying economic times, it is projects like this and job creation of this magnitude that we are reminded of the economic strength of our community and the State of Georgia.”

With a 2010 population of about 61,000, this is a major deal for Jackson County. In overly simplistic terms, it’s equivalent to adding nearly 12,000 jobs in Gwinnett County, which has a population of over 800,000.

In political terms, it may be a major advantage for Jackson County Commission Chair Hunter Bicknell, who recently joined the race for Congress in the new Ninth Congressional District.

The ninth district race hosts three additional Republican candidates; State Rep. Doug Collins, radio host Martha Zoller and businessman Clifton McDuffie.

McDuffie, a former head of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce who worked with the City of Oakwood to develop its industrial park also has a compelling claim as someone who understands how to bring new jobs to the area. But McDuffie may further fragment Hall County’s strength as the most populous county in the district, while Bicknell should have solid support out of Jackson, the second-most populous.

Announcing his candidacy, Bicknell made much of his business experience, saying “Unlike many people in Washington, I’ve actually had to make a payroll.” Now he can add to that Jackson County’s successful luring of the Bed Bath and Beyond facility. Whether Bicknell is able to capitalize on the news remains to be seen, but the boost to Jackson County employment, with the new facility coming online next summer could not be more fortuitous.


  1. saltycracker says:

    Is a local taking credit for mostly state efforts & incentives ? Looks like what Jackson had to offer was a defunct distribution center that BB&B could utilize. Bicknell is taking a photo op moment with some really good news for Jackson Co. & the state. The ajc listed some others.

    According to the ajc’s article:

    “Bed Bath & Beyond, which has 29 stores in Georgia, qualifies for approximately $12.9 million in incentives, including job tax credits, a port job tax credit bonus and a sales and use tax exemption. The company will also receive in-kind assistance from Quick Start for specialized workforce training.”

    Other recent new jobs announcements in Georgia include:

    MBM Foodservice, a North Carolina-based food service distributor for national and regional restaurant chains, plans to open a food distribution facility in Newnan and create 108 jobs. Hiring there is expected to start in the first quarter of 2012.

    Chexar Networks, a Roswell provider of technology-based services that allow banks and other businesses to serve people without traditional bank accounts, plans to create 500 jobs at a risk management center in Cordele.

    Hailo USA, the American division of a German manufacturing firm, will move its headquarters, open a wind turbine component facility in Elberton and create 500 jobs over five years.

    SANY Heavy Industry of China plans to add a research and development center in Peachtree City and create 300 jobs.

    Greenway Medical Technologies, a provider of electronic health records software and services, will add 400 jobs over three years at its Carrollton headquarters.

    Mando Corp, a South Korea global auto parts supplier, plans 426 new jobs in Meriwether County in west central Georgia.

    Lowe’s is to hire up to 600 people by 2016 at a regional distribution center near Rome.


    • saltycracker says:

      Don’t like the usual AJC slant either but what was not factual in their article ? The incentives , the available facilities, the other companies’ plans, the numbers, the players ?

  2. KD_fiscal conservative says:

    This is going to be an interesting race to watch because the people of NE Georgia love candidates who promise things(ie jobs, local economic boost) but they also have a particular predilection for right wing rhetorical bomb thrower ideologues(the crazier the better) who bring nothing to the district but run on national issues and vague generalities. So while Bicknell and McDuffie have an advantage on the latter, Zoller has a distinct advantage in the former. Obviously fund-raising is also important to be able reach voters in, especially with so many candidates and Collin wins in this category.

    I think as long as Zoller is able to fund-raise at respectable levels, she will win out on anti-establishment cred, bomb throwing alone, and record in public office to defend.

    • KD_fiscal conservative says:

      Not that Zoller is particularly “crazy”, she is actually a pretty nice lady, and her husband is great doc. But I think a nut-job candidate would be quite well in the new 9th.

      • mountainpass says:

        “This is going to be an interesting race to watch because the people of NE Georgia love candidates who promise things(ie jobs, local economic boost) but they also have a particular predilection for right wing rhetorical bomb thrower ideologues(the crazier the better) who bring nothing to the district but run on national issues and vague generalities. ”

        Yes’um thats us (hic) we’s likes uss sum rebel rousers (hic) yess sir ………

        Spare me………this part of Georgia elects people that represent them, just like the rest of the state…it’s called representative government for a reason! We like the Consitution, is that crazy? We cling to religion and guns……so what? What district are you from?

  3. I Miss the 90s says:

    Truth be told, this is a campaign contribution to the GA GOP and I am thoroughly disappointed in Bed, Bath and Beyond.

    As an investor in BBBY I am not willing for the company to forgo additional profits by hiring american labor. They do not need anymore distribution centers in the US, this is over expansion, and any help they really need on the customer service side should be outsourced.

    You praise the jobs because a GOP governor got them, you hate Obama for doing the exact same thing, I dislike both because it is cutting into my margins.

    I am a 1%er! I declare it proudly and feel no shame in keeping americans unemployed. It is better for my balance sheets.

  4. you says:

    If it were left to just Collins vs Zoller, Zoller would win. More people running helps Collins.
    Having several people run for one position, forcing a run off, seems to be a common theme in Hall.

    • 22bons says:

      I disagree. I believe Hunter Bicknell will do well with County Commissioners and City Council members, especially in the counties that are part of the NEGRDC. Bicknell will take some “establishment” support and votes from Doug Collins.

      Zollar is the beneficiary here, not Collins. If you compare this election to the election to replace John Linder, Collins is in danger of becoming the Clay Cox of this race.

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