WILTON — The town’s largest employer will shut down March 31, leaving 227 people without jobs.

Town Manager Rhonda Irish said Tuesday afternoon Barclaycard is closing its Wilton call center.  

She said the Board of Selectpersons has scheduled an emergency meeting for 6 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the closure and coordinate services for the employees. 

Barclaycard US, operated by the UK-based Barclays bank, is a credit card and payment services provider and is one of Franklin County’s largest employers.

Irish said she was surprised by the news.

“It’s very unfortunate,” she said. “They’ve been a good employer in the town. It’s never good news when a business of any size closes.”

In a statement Tuesday, the Board of Selectpersons said it was “saddened to hear the news” of the closing.

“Our first concern is with the 227 employees of Barclays who will no longer be employed, and the Wilton Board of Selectpersons will work with outside agencies to provide the necessary services to the employees,” board members said in the statement.

The impact will be felt throughout the county and the region, according to the statement.

Shortly after the announcement, Gov. Janet Mills’ office issued a news release saying the Maine Department of Labor will “use all available resources to support the employees, their families and the Wilton community.”

“This is deeply disappointing news that will have a profound impact on the community, the employees and their families,” Mills said.

“We will marshal the resources of the Department of Labor and other government agencies to support the employees, their families and the community, beginning by deploying a rapid response team to meet with the employees to provide re-employment services and help evaluate their health insurance and severance options.”

Judy Pelletier, a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor’s rapid response team, said Tuesday she had reached out to Barclaycard and will set up rapid response sessions for employees. The sessions will include surveys and find out where workers are from, so the rapid response team “can provide services as close as possible,” she said.

“We’re trying to do whatever we can on site prior to that layoff,” Pelletier said.  

Barclaycard opened its Wilton call center on Weld Road in 2008 and added hundreds of jobs in its first six years. In 2015, it completed a $5 million expansion, allowing the business to employ nearly 500 workers.

In July, L.L.Bean dropped Barclaycard as the vendor for its branded credit cards, switching to Citibank. 

At the time, a company spokesperson said: “There are no changes planned in Wilton at this time. We appreciate L.L.Bean’s partnership for the past nine years and wish them continued success moving forward.” 

According to the governor’s news release, the company’s Wilton location still employed up to 500 people as of July.

“Wilton is a beautiful, lakeside community, a great place to live and raise a family, and already has a willing and productive workforce,” Mills said.

“I am confident other employers will see this change as an opportunity and will power their businesses with the hard workers of Franklin County.” 

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