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News : Call Center that Promised 400 Jobs in Ann Arbor Closes Offices
Ann Arbor, MI, USA, June 20, 2016 -- Two-and-a-half years after announcing plans to bring 400 jobs to Ann Arbor, Universal Marketing Group appears to have shuttered its call center.
Although a company spokesman could not be reached for comment, Universal Marketing's doors are locked and windows are blacked out at its suite at 100 Phoenix Drive. The company also no longer is promoting an office in the Ann Arbor area on its website.
In October 2013, the Toledo, Ohio-based company announced plans to bring 400 jobs to Ann Arbor by the end of 2016 as part of an incentive agreement. Six months later, the company told The Ann Arbor News it had already brought 150 jobs to the area and was planning on bringing 200 more in the coming months.
The planned job creation was to be funded in part by a $600,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
A spokesperson from the MEDC confirmed that the incentive agreement was terminated for failure to meet the first milestone. As a result, no money was disbursed to the company. The spokesperson could not comment on what the milestone target was, but said it typically revolves around job creation numbers.
Employees were offered a base pay starting at $10 per hour, but employees were offered either the base pay or 2.5 percent of their sales, whichever was higher.
The company leased approximately 10,000 square feet of space in the former Borders headquarters. At the time, UMG said it was investing $570,000 to set up the offices and get it ready to handle all the expected employees.
When the company first announced plans, Ann Arbor SPARK and Michigan Works! were named as partners to work with UMG on talent recruitment for the center.
Paul Krutko, CEO of SPARK, said his company offered marketing support around available job opportunities and created a video for UMG that highlighted the company and available job opportunities. SPARK's involvement with the company was part of an effort to promote companies and jobs in the Ann Arbor region.
By January of this year, it appears the job growth was not as aggressive as UMG had originally planned.
"SPARK met with UMG in January of this year and the company had grown to 146 employees," Krutko wrote in a statement. "At that time, SPARK provided guidance on additional hiring tools available in the region, such as the WCC talent board, networking opportunities for UMG's executive team, etc."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Universal Marketing Group:
Universal Marketing Group is a sales driven call center.
Published: Tuesday, June 21, 2016