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Online Shopping Revitalizes Old Steel Mills

By: Logan Sands

Are you an Amazon shopper? Of course you are! Everyone shops online these days. Thanks to you and other consumers like you, many cities are becoming economically revitalized. Decades ago, pockets of areas throughout the U.S thrived and supported families through work in steel mills and other huge factories. Over time, these factories began to close for reasons like cheaper labor abroad and technology making production lines less labor intensive and more automated. These factory closures left many communities economically broken and factories abandoned. Fast forward to sometime in the course of this most recent decade and these old steel mills and factories are getting resurrected in the form of enormous warehouses for online retailers, and the residents of these factory towns are getting a chance to once again “have a job that pays a decent wage.”

So, how and why are enormous warehouses needed by online retailers? The way people shop has changed dramatically, and the internet is to thank for that. It has never been easier to compare prices, get reviews, receive merchandise, and even return unwanted items. You can now shop online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and in your pajamas if you’d like. The most important thing is for a seller to get the merchandise to a buyer’s door as quickly as possible. Large warehouses strategically located throughout the United States are needed in areas that are not occupied by malls or major cities. Jobs are also readily available in these warehouses for workers without college degrees. Laborers are also needed to operate these warehouses. Together, pockets of the country that have fallen on hard times economically are coming back to life. Since 2010, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been created by online retailers such as Amazon, Zulily, and Walmart. Warehouses employ an average of 2,000 people whose job is to pick, pack, and move hundreds of thousands of boxes daily. This growth and employment in these communities is significant. Competition in cities for online retailers and their fulfillment houses is fierce. Local governments are offering incentives for online retailers to set up shop in their area.

This is a win-win situation for all parties involved, especially the local economies of areas that would have had 0 chance to recover. Everyday the news reports growth in the tech industry, finance industry, entertainment industry, and healthcare industry. These are all industries that are located in and supported with educated professionals. The growth in online retailers and fulfillment warehouses is best for everyday people who don’t have degrees  and are located in communities not known for being up and coming. The online shopping industry has revitalized small towns all across the country who may have been previously deemed unfixable.