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ElmiraTelegram

Wayfair To Bring 450 Jobs To Area

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A major online retailer plans to open a new call center in Chemung County, creating an expected 450 jobs in the Elmira area, with the promise of even more.

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Wayfair, an e-commerce business that specializes in home furnishings and decor, plans to open a new call center this summer in a former Corning Inc. building on Daniel Zenker Drive at Airport Corporate Park in Big Flats. Wayfair will look to hire local residents in full-time customer service and sales jobs that include full benefits. The decision to locate a call center in Big Flats is the result of more than a year of negotiations, said Southern Tier Economic Growth President Mike Krusen. "This has been a disruptive time in retail. So this is wonderful news," Krusen said. "These are good paying jobs with full-time benefits. They are just a superior company to work for. When you start layering on recent announcements like 185 new jobs at the Corning Inc. Big Flats plant, and other important ones, there has just been a whole host of jobs when you start to add it up." The average salary at the new call center will be about $40,000, Krusen said. The total payroll will be just under $20 million.

Benefits will include equity, bonuses, 401(k) matching, tuition reimbursement, medical, dental and vision insurance and discounts on employee purchases. Wayfair, based in Boston, employs 7,700 people globally, and currently operates customer service centers in Massachusetts, Maine, Utah, Texas, Germany and Ireland. The company reported revenues of $4.7 billion in 2017, posting a 12-month loss $245 million. “We’re excited to expand our operations to Chemung County and the town of Big Flats and welcome new talent to our award-winning team,” said Liz Graham, Wayfair vice president of sales and service.

“Wayfair’s success is built upon a steadfast commitment to the customer and its dedication to delivering an unparalleled customer experience," Graham said. "We are confident that our expansion to New York state will enable us to further build our team with dedicated professionals who believe in always putting the customer first." Wayfair’s service organization was recently recognized for customer service excellence, earning the Silver Stevie Award in the Customer Service Department of the Year retail category.

In addition, Wayfair was recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Retail by Fortune Magazine. This is great news for Chemung County and the Southern Tier," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement. "We welcome Wayfair to New York and look forward to working with them to help grow and expand in the region.” Attracting the company to the Southern Tier took a coordinated effort at every level, from the Town of Big Flats to state government.

"In the Southern Tier, our strategic investments are attracting new businesses, creating new jobs and strengthening the regional economy,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Wayfair's commitment to invest millions of dollars and create hundreds of jobs furthers the region’s Southern Tier Soaring initiative, which is well on its way to generating sustainable growth and progress.”

The deal that brought Wayfair to Chemung County includes both state and local incentives, Krusen said. Specifics won't be made public until next Wednesday's Chemung County Industrial Development Agency meeting, he said. Wayfair is hiring now for its anticipated summer opening. If all goes well, the company indicated it could expand employment at the local call center beyond 450 new jobs, Krusen said. Ironically, he said that raises a question if there will be enough people to fill those jobs, something Krusen said will be addressed. "We’ve got concerns about job growth and making sure we have a talent pipeline available to employers to fill openings that are coming," he said. "We’re working on a tri-county workforce development plan to make sure that pipeline is ready to address those issues."

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