Advance Auto's 600 'new jobs' in Raleigh includes some existing General Parts workers

dbracken@newsobserver.comJune 23, 2014 

— When Advance Auto Parts was awarded a state incentives package worth more than $17.4 million last week, the McCrory administration touted the company’s plan to “create 600 new jobs” in Raleigh as part of its investment.

What wasn’t mentioned was that a good chunk of those 600 jobs could be workers who are already employed by General Parts International, which Advance Auto acquired for $2.04 billion earlier this year. Nor was it mentioned that some General Parts employees are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the corporate restructuring, or be given the option of relocating to Roanoke, Va.

General Parts, a homegrown company that operates 1,400 Carquest stores, employed about 500 people in Raleigh at the time it was bought. Last week those workers were notified which functions and departments were staying in Raleigh and which were moving to Roanoke, where Advance Auto has its headquarters.

“Some of those team members in that 500, some of their functions are moving to Roanoke,” said Shelly Whitaker, an Advance Auto spokeswoman. “Some of their functions will be part of that 600 as we hope to retain those team members. And then some we may not.”

Whitaker said she didn’t know how many of the 600 jobs in Raleigh are expected to be filled by General Parts employees. She said roles within the company are changing, as General Parts was used to supporting 1,400 stores while Advance Auto now has more than 5,000.

“We won’t have General Parts employees anymore,” Whitaker said. “We’ll have 600 Advance team members.”

Advance Auto is eligible to receive $17.4 million over 12 years if it meets its hiring targets and invests more than $5 million.

When a company with a presence in the state is granted an incentives package, it is typically required to retain its existing jobs in addition to those it plans to add in order to receive payments. There is no retention requirement for Advance Auto because the job functions at the Raleigh center are different than the existing General Parts positions, said Kim Gernardo, a state Commerce Department spokeswoman, in an email.

“General Parts employees are welcome to apply for jobs with Advance Auto,” Gernardo said. “The new positions in Raleigh will have new responsibilities and different levels of compensation depending on the job responsibility.”

Whitaker said severance would be offered to those General Parts employees who are laid off. The goal, she said, is to get all workers in the same department in a single location. Functions such as accounting will be moving to Roanoke while customer-centric functions, such as merchandising and marketing, will be in Raleigh.

Advance Auto is also closing its office in Minneapolis, which has about 100 employees, as part of the restructuring.

“Those team members, depending on function, have the opportunity to relocate to Roanoke or Raleigh,” Whitaker said.

The entire restructuring is expected to be completed in 12 to 16 months. The Raleigh center will be home to the company’s corporate leadership, as the chief executive officer, president and chief financial officer are all relocating from Roanoke.

The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $110,770, more than double the Wake County average.

Bracken: 919-829-4548; Twitter: @brackendavid

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