BANGOR, Maine — As Wayfair continues its push to hire 950 employees to fill a pair of new Maine call centers, the company and city celebrated the official opening of the Bangor facility on Friday.
Steve Conine, co-founder of the Boston-based online home furnishings retailer, traveled to Bangor along with other top Wayfair officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“From the early days, this company was built around the culture of listening to the customers,” Conine said.
The new Maine call centers in Bangor and Brunswick will play a key role as the company, which started in the early 2000s as a series of e-commerce websites operating out of Conine’s home, continues to grow, he said.
A crop of about 70 employees already are at work in the Bangor center, troubleshooting customer problems and answering questions. More will filter in throughout the fall. Ultimately the center expects to have about 450 customer service employees.
Groups of 20-40 new hires will be trained during two-week classroom sessions before being sent to work at desks on the call center’s main floor. The first Bangor trainees started preparing for their new jobs in July.
In May, Wayfair opened a sales service call center in Brunswick. That facility is expected to employ about 500 people.
Kate Margolis, Wayfair’s spokeswoman, said Friday that hiring is “on pace with projections,” but that the company doesn’t have a set date for when it expects to have hired all 950 employees. The number of employees at work in Brunswick wasn’t available Friday, but Margolis said more people have been hired there than in Bangor because the facility has been open longer.
Wayfair’s customer service positions are all full time and come with benefits including a 401k match, tuition reimbursement, medical, dental and vision insurance, according to the company.
Conine said the company is working to expand its reach in Canada, so recruiters are working to find French-speaking bilingual Mainers to work in the call centers.
Conine said some of the company’s employees based in Boston have relocated to the Maine call centers because of the lower cost of living.
“We really wanted to set these call centers up on the East Coast, and the proximity to Boston headquarters mattered,” Conine said. “We appreciate the solid New England work ethic.”
The 30,000-square-foot building near Bangor’s airport used to be home to an L.L. Bean call center. L.L. Bean moved out at the end of March to make way for Wayfair. The iconic Maine company had announced plans two years ago to close the call center in order to reduce its facilities’ overhead costs.
Many of the Wayfair’s first hires have been former L.L. Bean employees and former mill workers, according to the company.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.