Urban Outfitters to open Columbia County call center

Urban Outfitters on Friday announced plans to open a call center in Columbia Coun­ty that will bring 200 jobs to the area initially and perhaps 400 jobs eventually.

It will open the customer care center by Aug. 1 in the former Mike’s Fur­niture store on Bobby Jones Expressway and expects to create the 400 jobs within the next five years, Urban Outfitter’s contact center director, Bryan Whitney, said in a news release.

Employees will field calls from customers placing orders and seeking service assistance.

Urban Outfitters is a specialty clothing and lifestyle company with a strong online presence and stores throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The company also owns the Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain and BHLDN brands.

Urban Outfitters has operated a call center in Trenton, S.C., since 2005.

The company’s decision to open its call center in the 40,000-square-foot Martinez storefront was aided by Co­lumbia County’s new “opportunity zone” designation, which applies to a commercial corridor off Bobby Jones Express­way and Washington Road where older buildings coexist with new construction.

“This is the first business to take advantage of the opportunity zone,” said Robbie Bennett, the executive director of Columbia County’s De­velop­ment Authority. “I think as we move forward the opportunity zone will play a big impact in companies coming here.”

The zone offers state tax credits for businesses relocating or expanding in the area. Companies that create at least two jobs receive a tax break of $3,500 for each position developed. It took nearly two years before the development authority received approval for the zone from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

“Securing Urban Outfit­ters was a team effort that included business leaders, the development authority, Columbia County government and the state of Georgia,” said development authority Chairman Mark Wills in a statement. “Urban Out­fitters is a great addition to the corporate community of Columbia County. They are a high-quality company that will be a strong asset for many years to come.”

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