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NLV e-commerce company adding jobs, expanding during pandemic

Staying in to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus has spurred many to shop online, in turn creating hundreds of local jobs in the e-commerce industry.

Ruby Has, a packing and delivery company in North Las Vegas, is doing so well that it built a new 375,000-square-foot facility and plans on adding 200 jobs to its current 150-person workforce. Online shopping has increased since the start of the pandemic, and many of those customers may be new online shoppers, according to Esther Kestenbaum, president and chief operating officer.

“COVID(-19) compressed a decade’s worth of adaptation into five months,” Kestenbaum said, noting that many customers shop online because brick-and-mortar stores have been closed and they want to avoid the chance of contracting the disease. “Every day is Cyber Monday; the entire country is at home shopping online,” Kestenbaum said.

While retail sales have decreased by about $18 billion from the fourth quarter of 2019, online sales increased by 2.4 percent in the first quarter of 2020, according to a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau report. Compared with the same time last year, e-commerce sales have increased by 14.8 percent.

Ruby Has isn’t the only company expanding its footprint during an economic recession in the city. There is 5 million square feet of new industrial space under construction, according to North Las Vegas’ Chief Innovation Officer Gina Gavan.

Gavan declined to specifically name the companies because of nondisclosure agreements. Ruby Has also built a second 552,000-square-feet building, which will be leased out, according to Gavan.

Amazon created new jobs when the state was in Phase One of reopening, Gavan said. The company has 12 open jobs in North Las Vegas and 41 in the metro area, according to its website.

“We’ve got several other companies that have increased employee count due to volume,” Gavan said.

It is not just customers turning to the internet. Traditional retailers have also fired up their online presence, as many of their traditional brick-and-mortar shops closed across the nation.

“We’re seeing solid existing brands, all-time legacy brands that have been selling direct to consumers because their classic channels have fallen apart,” Kestenbaum said. “On the one hand, yes, we are growing, but we’re also providing new jobs. We’re also helping consumers and these brands survive and thrive in this COVID moment,” she said.

Ruby Has works with brands to package and deliver products. However, the company is unique to Amazon because sellers are able to personalize packages with ribbons and advertisements, Kestenbaum said.

Retailers also get a list of customers to whom they can send promotional material to continue building a customer base, Kestenbaum continued. With all the business happening, the company’s facility was running out of space.

The move to its new facility near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be fully complete by October. The company will invest $5 million into the facility this year, according to a press release.

“We’ve been in (North) Las Vegas since 2016, and this is going to be our third location because we keep growing,” Kestenbaum said. “For that reason, we are moving into a space that’s more than three times the size of where we are today.”

Contact Alex Chhith at achhith@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0290. Follow @alexchhith on Twitter.

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