Telemarketers see business boom


AUBURN – The rise in popularity of some of those products you see advertised in Sunday-morning infomercials is translating to more jobs here.

Two local telemarketing companies – Great Falls Marketing and Pine Tree Teleservices – are planning to hire dozens of new workers based on marketing campaigns of several nutrition and health care products. The campaigns, produced by Argo Marketing Group of Auburn, feature products like Winsor Pilates and Dual Action Cleanse.

“We have a couple million a month (in sales) coming to Lewiston-Auburn,” said Jason Levesque, owner of Argo Marketing. The business he founded two years ago is growing to the point that he’s just moved into new offices in the Engine House on Court Street.

He said he expects to seal another contract within the next two weeks that will mean more work for the local telemarketers.

“Nobody can touch the performance of Lewiston-Auburn workers; the problem is they’re hard to find,” he said.

Will Adams, chief executive officer of Great Falls Marketing, said his company wants to hire between 30 and 40 workers over the next month or so. The spurt represents a significant turnaround for the company since last July when Adams took over what had been AdvanceTel Marketing. At the time, there were only 35 workers left from what had been a staff of 170.

Adams brought the staff to 60 by September; it stands at 90 now.

“We are growing, ramping up business here because more business is coming our way from out of state,” said Adams. “It’s great that we’re keeping business in town, rather than having it go to Utah or somewhere else.”

Hourly wages at Great Falls average in the mid-teens. Adams said the new positions are full time, with benefits. An open house is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16 at the call center’s 121 Mill St. location.

Adams said Great Falls will continue to focus exclusively on nutrition and pharmaceutical products. That strategy allows the staff to become knowledgeable about product lines, which translates to better customer interaction and sales.

“All of our clients are in that field,” said Adams. “It makes a difference from other telemarketing centers where someone handles a call about ladders, then vitamins, then a business opportunity the next call.”

Pine Tree Teleservices also plans to increase its 60-member work force, in part due to the Argo connection, said Mark Sawyer, president. The 30-seat, 24-hour call center opened a year ago in the old CMP building on Main Street in Lewiston. A training class is under way now, and 15-20 more hires are expected in the next 30 days.

“We aim to be prudent in increasing our sales force so our current employees can make as much money as possible,” said Sawyer in an e-mail. “Argo Marketing has been terrific for us in finding clients with certain needs that match our strengths.”

Levesque said the telemarketing industry locally has been making significant contributions to the local economy by bringing fresh money into the area rather than redistributing money generated locally. He anticipates Argo will make close to $100 million in revenues this year.

“It’s hard to convince people in California that L-A is a hotbed for sales, but it is,” said Levesque.