Gov. Nathan Deal joined employees from Home Depot Friday morning to officially mark the opening of a new call center that will eventually bring 700 jobs to the state.
"My goal is to make Georgia the number one state in this nation to do business," Deal told a crowd of employees outside the new facility in Kennesaw.
Instead of cutting a ribbon to mark the opening, Deal and company executives took part in a "board cutting." They used a chainsaw to cut a board in front of the facility, a ceremony unique to the home improvement giant.
The 80,000-square-foot facility now employs approximately 300 workers who do everything from answering email inquiries to live chat with customers.
Hal Lawton, president of The Home Depot online, said the company chose to locate the center in Georgia for several reasons including incentives from the state and the strong pool of potential employees in the area.
"You're going to be driving customer service," CEO Frank Blake told employees in the crowd. "There is nothing more important than what you do."
The company said that customers will benefit from the new call center.
"For the Home Depot shopper, it gives them the ability to shop anywhere, anytime, any way they want," said Lawton.
Home Depot executives said the company has added a total of 2,500 jobs in three locations in Georgia this year.
The governor said Georgia has been able to attract employers in the tough economy for several reasons including low business taxes, regulations that are not stifling and the quality of life.
"We are seeing companies come to us from other countries," Deal said. "We're seeing companies relocate from the other parts of the United States. We want that to be the model we project to the rest of the nation and the world and that is that Georgia is a good place to do business."
Hear more about the economic impact of Home Depot's expansion and get a tour of the facility Friday at 6 p.m. on CBS Atlanta News.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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