News : New Fort Erie Call Centre to Hire 40 People
May 14, 2012 -- It's a bit of much-needed good news for the Town of Fort Erie.
The new tenant of the Crossroads travel centre on Bertie St. says it plans to hire 40 people for its call centre with the goal of doubling that workforce "within the next few months."
Northstar Location Services Inc., which is based in Cheektowaga, N.Y., will open its first Canadian location June 1 at the vacant building that, until April 30, had housed the Ontario Welcome Centre.
"There's a tremendous talent pool in the Fort Erie and St. Catharines area and that was a major aspect of us opening this Canadian operation," said David Evtimovski, the senior director of collections operations for Northstar.
The company is leasing 3,000 square feet in the Bertie St. travel centre, which is owed by Nordic Gaming.
The Crossroads centre was built by Nordic in 2003 with partial funding from the municipal, provincial and federal governments. It was built as a way to generate more interest for Fort Erie Race Track, which was also owned by Nordic.
But its only tenant was the Welcome Centre, which closed April 30, the same day the provincial government closed the OLG Slots at Fort Erie.
El-Ad, the parent company of Nordic Gaming, said the deal with Northstar was signed before the government announced it was pulling out of the Crossroads centre.
Northstar plans to operate a call centre at the site for its collections work. The company buys debt from major companies and then has its employees call the customers in debt to collect.
Maggie Long, the vice president of collections operations, said the 40 jobs in Fort Erie will be filled by Canadians and they won't be low-income salaries.
"Our average employee makes between $60,000 and $70,000 a year," Long said. "It will be comparable in Canada. They're good paying jobs."
"Our hourly rate range will be dependent on experience level, but it can go from $11 to $25 per hour and then on top of that we offer a monthly bonus structure based on performance," added Evtimovski.
Northstar's two call centres in the Buffalo area employ 900 people. The company was started by the original founders of Great Lakes Collections Bureau, which had an office in Fort Erie before being sold to GE Capital in 2000.
Evtimovski said the company is still early in the hiring process for the Fort Erie call centre and is accepting applications.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, May 16, 2012
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