Wayfair founder Niraj Shah takes a selfie with state Sen. Smitty Pignatelli, left, and Congressman Richie Neal at the call center's opening in 2019.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Wayfair opened a $5 million call center in the Clock Tower Building three years ago with plans to bring 300 jobs to the city.
It was a pledge by Chairman and CEO Niraj Shah, a Pittsfield High graduate, to ensure his hometown benefited from his burgeoning home goods business.
Now the company is planning to close that center by July and shift its 40-person staff to virtual work.
Wayfair announced last Friday plans to layoff upwards of 1,750 employees, following 900 let go in August. The restructuring is expected to save the company more than $1.4 billion, some $750 million from reducing its global labor force by more than 10 percent of its 17,000 employees reported in August.
"Although difficult, these are important decisions to get back to our 20-year roots as a focused, lean company premised on high ambitions and great execution," said Shah in statement about the reductions. "The changes announced today strengthen our future without reducing our total addressable market, our strategic objectives, or our ability to deliver them over time.
"In hindsight, similar to our technology peers, we scaled our spend too quickly over the last few years. The good news for Wayfair is that we have operated in a highly productive and efficient way for the vast majority of our 20-year history, and we are now simply returning to that."
The company reported a 9 percent decrease year over year in total revenues for the third quarter and a net loss of s $283 million.
Susan Frechette, Wayfair's director of communications, confirmed that the company would be not be renewing its lease for the two-story Clock Tower space.
"Like many companies, we have seen an increase in employees effectively transitioning to remote work, driven in part by the COVID-19 global pandemic and cost savings efforts," she wrote. "Moving our customer service team to a virtual working model continues to allow us to best serve our customers while supporting cost saving efforts for the business."
Frechette said the company remains committed to Pittsfield and will continue to provide support to its employees in the region.
The opening of the call center was considered a major coup for the city and numerous public officials — including then Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and U.S. Rep. Richie Neal — attended the ribbon cutting.
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Like Bed Bath and Beyond, Wayfair cannot compete with Amazon. Anything you can buy from Wayfair, you can probably get cheaper at Amazon. Also, Wayfair touts free shipping, but if you need to return something, you pay a fortune to ship it back. These are the reasons I stopped buying from Wayfair.
BCC, Sonoco Partner in Mechatronics Apprenticeship Program
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Community College (BCC) and Sonoco Plastics have entered into a partnership to encourage those interested in a career in mechatronics to apply for an apprenticeship at Sonoco.
Apprentices will receive full tuition at BCC for its associate degree in mechatronics program, provided they complete the apprenticeship.
Mechatronics is a growing field that combines technologies of mechanics and electronics. An interdisciplinary field of study, it encompasses sought-after skills in electro-mechanical systems, machine operation, computing, automation, robotics and advanced manufacturing. Mechatronics bridges traditional machine operation and 21st-century smart devices, positioning graduates for rewarding careers in fields such as automation and manufacturing.
"We are excited to launch this earn-while-you-learn opportunity. Students are paid employees, tuition is covered, college and hands-on industry training complement each other, and employment after graduation is secured," said Frank Schickor, BCC Dean of STEM and Allied Health. "We are grateful to Sonoco for joining this educational partnership."
Users will be welcomed by a plaza area that has a bike rack, a trash can, and possibly a bulletin board kiosk. It will be fully accessible from the 23-space parking lot with three handicapped-accessible spots.
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