News : Myrtle Beach Call Center Boosted by Economic Development Group Closes after Three Weeks
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA, Dec, 2017 -- A call center that employed about 60 people abruptly shuttered after just three weeks in operation, leaving workers without the paychecks they expected.
The center, run by education technology firm Greenwood Hall, contracted with colleges as a help center for students who sought assistance with financial aid and technical issues.
At a press conference six weeks ago, Horry County Council chairman Mark Lazarus and Neyle Wilson, chairman of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., heralded the arrival of the company to the area and said it would ultimately bring 300 new jobs.
Greenwood Hall CEO Bill Bradfield said the company was in the process of selling its assets at the Myrtle Beach branch to competitor AnswerNet, but that agreement was scuttled after media reports on the abrupt closure of a Greenwood Hall center in Texas scared away some of the company's clients.
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AnswerNet had planned to rehire the Myrtle Beach employees after the deal, Bradfield said.
"We were building family here," he added. "I can't tell you how great these people were."
Bob Hawkins, who worked as an IT technician for Greenwood Hall, said he was unsure what to do next. He was laid off from a different job in April and said he already exhausted his unemployment benefits this year.
The board members of Greenwood Hall all resigned earlier this week, Bradfield said. He has not been paid since taking the CEO post in August, and does not expect to be reimbursed the roughly $100,000 in compensation owed him by the company.
Josh Kay, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., said he was shocked by the closure.
"I think our vetting was strong," he said. "This was a fluke occurrence that the CEO, the board and ourselves never saw coming."
Kay said his group was working to connect laid off employees with new jobs. Greenwood Hall had an agreement to receive $75,000 in incentives over five years from a grant funded through Horry County, but the company had not operated long enough to draw money from the grant.
Greenwood Hall has one remaining call center in Phoenix.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The AnswerNet Network is a telemessaging call center business and a provider of outsourced contact center and fulfillment services. On a combined basis, the AnswerNet Network centers have an average experience level of over 30 years each in the telemessaging business.
Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2017