New jobs at Nike to be slowly phased in - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

New jobs at Nike to be slowly phased in

When Nike announced plans last year to build a new distribution center in Memphis, it also announced hundreds of new jobs.  But the new hires won't start for a while.

Thursday, the sound of new construction at the plant was a welcome one in Frayser.  According to Nike spokesperson Willie Gregory, the company's new Northridge distribution plant will be up and running by August 4th.  

"All Nike footwear will come through the Northridge facility," he said.

But while the building has been going up, hope for new jobs has gone down.
"Nike has had a major presence here in Memphis as one of its major distribution networks, and there were some commitments made in the Frayser community," Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said Thursday.  "I need to be briefed on whether those commitments are still standing."
At a groundbreaking almost one year ago, Frayser residents hoped the plant would be filled with new hires.  But now, the company says new hires will be spread out over the next few years.

"We have until the year 2011 to have approximately 400 new jobs," Gregory said.

When the plant opens, all but a few dozen jobs will already be filled by current Nike employees, because Nike is closing its facility on Winchester Road.   Other employees will come from a Colorado plant that's closing.  

While a new business can only help the Frayser community, there were hopes more people there would benefit from a job immediately.  Instead, a year-old promise will not be fulfilled for a few more years. 

Gregory said he hopes other businesses will follow Nike's lead and "Just Do It" by moving to Frayser - a move that could lead to more employment in a struggling community.

Click here to send an email to Anna Marie Hartman.

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