American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), a specialty retailer of clothing, accessories, and personal care products in the United States and internationally, recently launched its 1-million-square-foot distribution center in Greater Hazleton. The company officials say they are pleased with the region’s labor force and the associates they have hired to date.
American Eagle Outfitters opened the distribution center in Humboldt Industrial Park, Hazle Township, this summer. The company is a specialty retailer of high-quality, on-trend products for women and men, including clothing, accessories and personal care items. It sells its products in more than 900 stores throughout the United States and Canada and online internationally.
“We chose Greater Hazleton for several reasons, including the talent pool in the area, the opportunity to build a facility from the ground up, and the easy access to Interstates 81 and 80,” said Director of Operations Chris Miller.
Miller said the company needed to expand its direct-to-consumer capabilities and worked with consulting firms and a site selector to determine the location of its new distribution center, the largest the company operates.
“We found a great deal of talent locally with many candidates who met our needs from a production and operations standpoint,” Miller said. About 60 percent of the mid- and upper-level management positions were filled with local hires, she said.
The center is the company’s first omni-channel facility, which means it serves online customers as well as retail stores. It is the first distribution center in the company’s history that was specifically built as an omni-channel facility.
Senior Human Resources Manager Sandy Sola said, “We’ve been really happy with the talent pool we’ve found here and the individuals we’ve hired to join our team. AEO prides itself on a culture of fun and an environment where people live their life and love their job, and that’s resonated really well in this area. That includes the support we’ve received from partners such as the PA CareerLink, CAN DO and the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce and is also a testament to the individuals who live and work in this area.”
Sola and Miller said CAN DO, the Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce and the PA CareerLink® were helpful partners in the company’s transition to the area, giving them tours and introducing them to local support organizations.
“This area offers everything a large town would offer with a small-town feel. It’s a great area to raise a family. On a professional level, the talent pool is excellent, and I appreciate the team we’ve put together here. I also appreciate that there are many distribution centers in the area, as we share many commonalities even though we process different types of units,” Miller said.
The facility is highly technical with 100 percent of its product transported using conveyors. It also uses a software system to help drive the efficiency of the center. In addition, the facility is a LEED certified building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.