IRVINGTON, Ala. (WKRG) – Walmart officially opened its $135 million distribution center in Mobile County Tuesday morning.
The announcement came more than a year ago, and it’s the first import distribution center in the state of Alabama, and sixth in the nation.
“When major companies like Walmart invest in our great state, it builds the momentum,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
Debra Rae Hawkins was one of the first hired in Mobile County.
“I still remember the day,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins says the anticipation for Tuesday’s big day has been mounting, and she’s excited it is now open in Irvington.
“It’s an overwhelming feeling of joy,” said Hawkins.
The building itself covers 2.6 million square feet, 45 football fields can fit inside the facility. This center helps serve about 700 Walmart stores in Alabama, Mississippi and beyond, creating a positive economic impact for this area.
“There’s a lot of data that we look at, most importantly the workforce, the demographics, the centroid of how we how we picked this location, and how it relates to other regional distribution centers,” said Jeff Breazeale, the VP of Direct import logistics for Walmart.
“We also have the close proximity to the Port of Mobile, and good interstate travel, so a lot of good reasons they picked Alabama,” said Governor Ivey.
Hawkins says she’s proud to be part of the company and their decision to choose Alabama. She hopes to be part of the company for years to come.
“Hopefully have a 10 year badge or 20 year badge like I see a lot of the other employees and managers have, that says a lot for a company, when people want to stay and not want to move on to another company,” said Hawkins.
More than 570 people are already working at this center, and once fully operational, they plan to employ more than 750 people.
This morning Walmart also gave to the local community. They presented $20,000 to 7 different organizations across Mobile.