- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2015

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - Nearly 300 jobs will be lost when Apogee Retail closes its call center in Columbus as part of a company consolidation, officials said.

The company announced the Oct. 4 closing on Tuesday, after workers were informed, according to the Columbus Telegram (https://bit.ly/1Ikppdx ).

Apogee is a subsidiary of Savers LLC and operates more than 330 thrift stores in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Savers works with more than 120 nonprofits and employs about 20,000 people, according to the Seattle-based company’s website.

The Columbus operation employs 176 full-time and 120 part-time workers who solicit used goods on behalf of charities. The charities receive payment when the donated items are sold at the for-profit thrift stores.

The Columbus call center opened in 2008 and at one time employed close to 600 people, but staffing has dwindled over recent years.

Savers spokeswoman Sara Gaugl said the decision to close the Columbus center is part of a move to centralize the company’s call center operations. Apogee has other call centers in Minnesota and Texas, Gaugl said, but there are no plans for layoffs at either of them.

David Bell, co-chairman of Columbus Economic Council, said Apogee will try to help its workers find jobs elsewhere in the community and was already looking at holding job fairs.

Bell said he’s contacted Nebraska Workforce Development and the director of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s Drive for Five employment initiative.

“We’ll put all of our resources together and do what we can to get people back to work,” Bell said.


Information from: Columbus Telegram, https://www.columbustelegram.com

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