PITTSFIELD, Maine — A Maine-based company decided to expand after another company shut its doors.
Argo Marketing Group has moved into the former Global Contact Services office, three months after GCS laid off 65 employees.
“I saw an opportunity,” said Jason Levesque, CEO of Argo Marketing Group, a telemarketing business based in Lewiston. “I was looking at expansion in my 2012 forecast.”
The process of moving into the building was a quick one, thanks to Pittsfield Town Manager Kathryn Ruth and landlord Tom Auger, said Levesque. The abandoned furniture left by GCS also helped.
“It’s been such a quick turnaround. We repainted, put in new computers, new technology and we’re not done yet. There’s so much left to do,” said Levesque.
Levesque said 25 people have been hired and more are being interviewed for another shift. He said the business went live on Dec. 30.
“We’ve been fairly aggressive, yet manageable,” he said.
Levesque said he started Argo Marketing Group in 2003 in Lewiston. Today, he has 75 employees with the Pittsfield expansion. His Lewiston center handles calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including calls from the United Kingdom and Australia, he said. He hopes Pittsfield eventually will do the same.
“Two hundred people in that facility is doable [in rotating shifts],” said Levesque.
“In the next four to six months, we’ll be full in here,” said customer service manager Nicole Morgan.
The news of the office being opened was welcomed by former GCS employees.
“Job. Employment. Being back to work. It was amazing,” said Stephen Packard of Newport, who also worked at GCS. He said 22 of the 25 employees working now are former workers at GCS.
Morgan has been impressed with the quality of workers she has seen.
“They’re 15-20 minutes early for their shifts. They’re back early from their breaks and lunch. They’re incredible,” she said.
The atmosphere is different than it was a GCS, said Packard.
“You can walk in here and know you’re not going to get yelled at on every call. That is big,” said Packard.
The employees receive customer service calls and also make sales, said Morgan. GCS dealt mostly with sales calls, according to Packard.
GCS was “doing stuff for Bank of America. Here, it’s stuff for products you’d see on TV. Any questions they have, we answer,” said Packard.
Having a Maine-based company fill the gap left by GCS was welcomed, said Ruth.
“We’re very excited. They have a wonderful vision for the future,” said Ruth. “We felt very comfortable with [Levesque]. He means to do good.”
Morgan said it’s important for Argo’s employees to be happy, and Levesque is a big part of making that happen.
“He’s directly involved. He wants to make sure everyone’s happy who’s here. He buys pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards, anything to boost morale and help people stay positive,” said Morgan.
Packard noticed the extra effort given by the CEO.
“He’s here, and that’s the best thing. He is the CEO and when we came in for our first day of training, he was there and introduced himself and introduced us to what we were going to do. That was cool,” said Packard. “You usually don’t get to see a lot of that because they’re usually behind their desks, filling out paperwork, [but] this guy is here. He’s down to earth and he’s a really nice person.”
Morgan encouraged people to keep applying.
“You don’t have to have experience in this,” she said.