Shutterfly moving to Fort Mill

Shutterfly, the Internet photo and greeting card firm, is moving its Charlotte operations to York County – bringing more than 400 new jobs to a county where unemployment is higher than both the state and nation.

The company will move into a 303,188 square-foot warehouse facility last occupied by Trader Marc’s flea market off S.C. 160 in Fort Mill, York County economic development officials said Thursday.

Shutterfly plans to invest about $60 million in the new location, according to a resolution promising tax breaks passed by the York County Council this week.

“Adding such a technologically advanced company to our growing list of international businesses is a testament to York County’s ability to compete in the global arena,” York County Council Chairman Britt Blackwell said.

The company is getting $700,000 from South Carolina for infrastructure improvements. York County has offered a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement that would reduce Shutterfly’s future county property taxes by 43 percent.

The county also will spend $250,000 in state money to build a road to Coltharp Road, which is west of the property.

The new facility will be within 10 miles of Shutterfly’s current location in the Shopton Ridge Industrial Park in Charlotte, which serves the company’s East Coast operations.

Shutterfly employs about 250 people in Charlotte – many of whom the company expects will work at the Fort Mill facility.

For the company to get tax breaks from York County, it would need to create 416 new, full-time jobs and spend $60.1 million on its new facility, according to the County Council’s resolution.

The company said Thursday those new jobs would be created “during the next three years.”

The S.C. Department of Commerce said the move would bring to the state “more than 600” jobs, including part-time positions. Typically, Shutterfly has hired temporary help during the holidays.

“I am extremely proud that we are able to retain the employees working in our Charlotte facility while adding new jobs and expanding our manufacturing footprint,” said Jeffrey Housenbold, Shutterfly’s president and CEO. “Fort Mill is an ideal location for its proximity to our employees and the new, talented local labor pool.”

The Fort Mill facility will house production and customer service employees for Shutterfly’s four Internet brands:, where customers can create photo books, personalize photo cards and stationery and share photos, which specializes in graduation announcements, birth announcements and birthday invitations, which specializes in wedding and bridal shower invitations and “save the date” cards, where customers can create personalized greeting cards

The customer service center in Fort Mill will be Shutterfly’s first on the East Coast.

“Expanding our manufacturing facilities is critical to ensuring we are able to respond to increasing demand,” Housenbold said.

Shutterfly plans to open in Fort Mill by the end of June. The Charlotte facility will operate until then.

The Shutterfly project is unusual because it combines manufacturing, distribution and office jobs at one location, said Mark Farris, York County’s economic development director.

That variety of jobs, he said, should help reduce the county’s unemployment rate, which was at 10.8 percent in July, the latest figures available from the state Department of Employment and Workforce.

By contrast, South Carolina’s unemployment rate was at 9.6 percent in July; the nation’s unemployment rate was at 8.1 percent last month.

Shutterfly, which is based in Redwood City, Calif., opened its Charlotte operations in 2007, the company’s first East Coast expansion. The N.C. Department of Commerce said the company invested $31.5 million and received $250,000 in incentives. The company also received $3.6 million in tax breaks from Mecklenburg County.

The company is moving into a facility that was recently purchased by Beacon Partners of Charlotte. At one time, it housed United American Video, which duplicated VCR tapes. Jon Morris, a partner with Beacon Partners, said a lease has not been signed.

Shutterfly now operates in about 102,000 square feet of space in Charlotte. The company said significant business growth was the reason for the expansion.

The company recently bought Kodak Gallery, Photoccino and Penguin Digital. The new facility will allow Shutterfly to more quickly fill orders for photos, photo books, holiday cards and personalized stationery.

In addition to future positions in Fort Mill, Shutterfly is recruiting for manufacturing, engineering and customer service positions.

By Don Worthington, Staff Reporter with The Herald