Central Ohio has snared a call center for a rapidly growing online retailer, bringing an estimated 900 new jobs. Seattle-based Zulily, which offers daily deals for women, children and infants, has chosen the region for expansion and will do the hiring over the next three years.
July 29, 2014
Central Ohio has snared a call center for a rapidly growing online retailer, bringing an estimated 900 new jobs.
Seattle-based Zulily, which offers daily deals for women, children and infants, has chosen the region for expansion and will do the hiring over the next three years.
The project is the largest this year for central Ohio in terms of job count, topping the 700-job expansion announced two weeks ago by Alliance Data Systems for Easton.
Initially, the Zulily call center will have temporary offices at 775 Taylor Road in Gahanna, while the company looks for a long-term location in the region.
Details about the call center were disclosed yesterday when the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 75 percent, 12-year income-tax credit for the company.
"It's a huge opportunity to create 900 jobs," David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, said. "We are very excited about it."
The tax credit will give the company an estimated $6.2 million in savings, according to the agency. The money is contingent on Zulily meeting annual targets for hiring in the first three years toward a total of 900 full-time-equivalent jobs, and then maintaining a presence in the region for at least 15 years.
The estimated benefit is based on a projected annual payroll of $28 million for the new employees, the agency said. That would translate to an average salary of about $31,000 per employee.
Economic-development officials were muted in their response to the project yesterday and referred all questions to the company. In turn, the company declined comment because it is in a quiet period before issuing its quarterly earnings.
Zulily had 1,380 employees as of March, plus 2,000 temporary workers, according to a company report.
The company has its headquarters in Seattle and distribution centers in Nevada and in Obetz, near Rickenbacker Airport.
Zulily was approved for state incentives in 2011 related to the Obetz site. The company had 617 jobs in the central Ohio region as of last year, which exceeded its commitment to add at least 580 jobs, according to state filings.
During the authority's meeting yesterday, state officials said Ohio was competing with other states to attract the call center, but company officials said Ohio would be chosen if the credits were approved. The state still needs to complete a contract with the company.
Zulily was founded in 2010 and has become a notable player in "flash sales," a series of brief promotions for heavily discounted goods. Last year, the company had sales of $696 million, more than double those of the previous year. It is on track to surpass $1 billion in sales this year.
The company's "hyper-growth warrants attention," said a research note last month from Goldman Sachs.
"Zulily has a disruptive inventory model enabling agile merchandizing, and a strong mobile presence," the note said.
Its competitors include a variety of traditional and online retailers, such as the Children's Place and Amazon.