Telemarketing firm decides not to come

June 27, 1997


Staff Writer

SOMAR, the telemarketing company that announced almost a year ago an office would be opened in Washington County that would employ 250 people, is not coming here after all, a state official said Friday.

Officials with SOMAR, a division of Telespectrum Worldwide Inc., is no longer looking at locating in Hagerstown or Washington County, said Andrew Spitzler, a spokesman with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

Telespectrum officials could not be reached for comment.

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said it was unfortunate SOMAR officials decided not to open an office here.

"I think it would have been a good company to come here to the county," said Snook.

Snook said company officials couldn't reach a lease agreement on two prospective locations in the county so they will look elsewhere.


The telemarketing company is still considering adding up to 300 jobs in Maryland, but at an already existing Woodlawn office in Baltimore County, Spitzler said.

Telespectrum employs several hundred people in the company's offices in Maryland, which also include Annapolis and Linthicum - both in Anne Arundel County, he said.

With Washington County out of the picture, state officials will withdraw a $1 million loan offer from the state's sunny day fund to help SOMAR build a facility in Washington County, Spitzler said.

That loan will have to be renegotiated as well as other incentives, which could include tax breaks, he said.

SOMAR provides telephone-based sales and customer service for Fortune 500 companies such as J.C. Penney, Lowe's, American Express, Discover Card and Bank One.

There were to be 125 work stations at the local telemarketing center, with two shifts daily.

Entry-level telesales and customer service representative jobs would have paid between $15,000 and $22,000 annually, depending on the qualifications and work history of the employee.

The jobs would have been full time with benefits, including a 401(k) plan with a company match, health and dental insurance, vacations and holidays and continuing educational opportunities.

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