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The call center was expected to have 300 employees; now the 40 or so workers will be going virtual and the call center closed.

Wayfair Closing Pittsfield Call Center; Employees Will Go Virtual

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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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
 
In 2018, Wayfair was awarded $31 million in Economic Development Incentive Program tax credits to open the Pittsfield call center, expand its footprint in Boston, and hire 3,300 new workers. This was also contingent on the company investing $33.9 million. 
 

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Owner of Abandoned Cats Pleads Guilty to Animal Cruelty

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman accused of abandoning more than a dozen cats during snowstorm a year ago has pleaded guilty. 
 
Kelly Hathaway of Pittsfield pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of animal cruelty in Central Berkshire District Court as part of a plea agreement. Following the plea agreement, she was ordered to have a mental health evaluation and follow any after care as instructed by the court.
 
She was placed on two years probation and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. She is not allowed to possess any animals and was ordered to surrender any she has in her care. She is also prohibited from volunteering with any animal groups.
 
Hathaway and another defendant were charged last March with abandoning 15 cats on back roads in Richmond and Lanesborough after an investigation by Lanesborough Police, Lanesborough Animal Control and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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