Chico's expansion to add 182 jobs

WINDER - Chico's will add more than 180 new jobs to Barrow County with the expansion of its distribution center and the addition of a call center for processing catalog orders.

The expansion, which was announced from the governor's office Tuesday, will add to the 211 jobs the women's clothing company already has in the county.

Chamber of Commerce President Carolyn Delamont said it was exciting that the company decided to expand its Barrow operations.

"It's very important," she said. "It's exciting that Chico's has decided to continue to grow here in Barrow County."

The company last expanded in Barrow in 2004, according to a press release. It uses 235,000 square feet as a distribution center, and plans to use an adjacent 50,000-square-foot building on 19 acres as a call center and additional distribution facility for Chico's, White House-Black Market and Soma by Chico's.

The effort will cost $10.1 million, the release said, and result in 182 new jobs.

Delamont called Chico's a good corporate citizen, saying the company was active in the Chamber of Commerce, had donated to the United Way and was a Partner in Education with the county school district.

Representatives from Chico's did not return several phone calls seeking comment, but Barry Shapiro, Chico's senior vice president of distribution and logistics, said the company was looking forward to growing in Barrow County.

"Our partnerships with the state and local governments, as well as the talent pool of associates available to us, have helped make this area one in which we can grow," he said in the release.

The company sells women's clothing, accessories and other gift items and operates 745 stores under the Chico's, Soma by Chico's and White House-Black Market names. It had $1.1 billion in sales in 2004.