Posted at: 04/02/2014 7:59 AM
Updated at: 04/02/2014 10:45 PM
By: Logan Gruber & Maarja Anderson
More than 100 people are out of a job on the Iron Range after a telemarketing business in Eveleth closed their doors Monday.
Meyer Teleservices closed their headquarters in St. Cloud, a call center in Little Falls, and the one in Eveleth. Nearly 200 people lost their jobs. 100 of the jobs were at the Eveleth location.
The company was created after the Watergate scandal to raise funds for the Democratic Party. Fundraising through telemarketing was its major service and revenue source.
Owner Gary Owen says the decreasing number of telephone land lines and the lack of access to cell phones have crippled his business. He says politicians are turning to the Internet to raise funds.
Owen says he did everything possible to remain open, using his retirement money and house equity. He said it's been a tough few days and he's sorry he disappointed so many people.
Craig Himmelright is one of the 104 employees who lost their job Monday. Owen said they do not have funds for severance pay.
"I started back in October of 2009 and I was just recently promoted to supervisor," he said.
He was promoted the first week of March. Now, he's looking for a new job. Unfortunately, this is a storm he's weathered before.
"I worked at LTV Steel and I also worked at Kimball Electronics and both places shut down the same way," he said.
The company has been in Eveleth since 2007. IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich said the loss is felt across the Range.
"This business has been in existence on the Iron Range for eight years and we helped support bringing them to the Range," he said. "Certainly, our first thoughts are with those Rangers who lost jobs."
In addition to the lost jobs, the company leaves behind a debt of $250,000 to the IRRRB. Equipment in the building will likely cover the loan, said Sertich.
Sertich said there are similar jobs available on the Range. He asks the employees to contact their local workforce center for help.