LEWISTON — Jason Levesque calls himself “a mechanic.”

Behind the glass doors of his new second-story office suite overlooking Lisbon Street, the one-time congressional candidate and his staff rebuild marketing strategies, tighten brand messaging and take call center questionnaires for a test spin.

“We are mechanics,” Levesque, the CEO of Argo Marketing, said. “We make sure things go well.”

So it figures that his own business, which helps companies reach their markets, has found a market of its own.

In the last two years, his staff has doubled from 25 to 51 employees and moved from modest offices in Auburn’s Engine House to Lewiston’s Key Plaza Building, where he has taken over the entire second floor.

The move was completed about three weeks ago and on Thursday, he and Argo plan to host a public open house. 

Levesque calls it a “buck-the-trend” event.

“It’s OK in the middle of a recession — when you’re up here in Maine with an unfriendly business climate and all the other negatives we hear about all  — to grow,” he said.

And the boom may not be over.

“Do not be surprised if you see Argo double in 2011,” he said.

Levesque started the business in 2003 as he began analyzing the way companies work: “the pennies, the profitability, the methodology behind sales.”

Argo soon grew out of Levesque’s home and into a corner of a former Grange hall in Auburn. In March 2006, he moved the business to the Engine House on Court Street in Auburn.

The company has offered a variety of marketing services, from helping businesses buy needed advertising to hiring shipping companies and credit card processors.

“If we do our jobs right, nobody knows we did our job,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Argo developed a specialty: call centers.

His people began to set up call centers, particularly those soliciting business through 1-800 numbers, to do their jobs smarter. That’s where his biggest growth has come from.

The new offices on Lisbon Street have something he describes as a “call center laboratory.”

There, workers in a cluster of cubicles answer calls aimed at analyzing companies’ products, price points and appeal in a given geographic area. Calls are routed through a central hub at the front of the room, where they can be monitored, recorded and further analyzed.

For now, Argo Marketing operates as a kind of hired gun aimed at improving a company’s operation. However, Levesque thinks he might expand the operation to take over small-scale calling services permanently.

The work force to do it is here, he said.

“Maine is notorious for solid, good, customer care,” he said.

For now, he is happy to be growing.

“It’s taking on more risk,” he said. “It’s not being afraid.”

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