2016-02-19 / Front Page

More than 500 new jobs coming to Brunswick

E-commerce powerhouse Wayfair headed to Landing
BY DARCIE MOORE
Times Record Staff


CONSTRUCTION has already started at the former Navy Exchange at Brunswick Landing which will be home to online furniture and home decor company Wayfair. The company plans to open in mid-to-late June and bring more than 500 full time jobs. 
DOUGLAS MCINTIRE/THE TIMES RECORD CONSTRUCTION has already started at the former Navy Exchange at Brunswick Landing which will be home to online furniture and home decor company Wayfair. The company plans to open in mid-to-late June and bring more than 500 full time jobs. DOUGLAS MCINTIRE/THE TIMES RECORD BRUNSWICK

It’s official. The largest online furnishing and home decor company Wayfair is headed to Brunswick, and with it more than 500 jobs.

On Wednesday, the company signed the lease with Topsham-based developer Jim Howard of Priority Real Estate Group. Howard is purchasing the former 50,000-square-foot Navy Exchange building at 46 Burbank St., at Brunswick Landing — site of the former Navy base — which he closes on in the next 30 days. The planned $5 million in renovations began a week and a half ago.

Jane Carpenter, head of public relations for Wayfair, said the Boston-based company plans to open in mid- to late-June, and will have more than 500 full-time openings available.

This location will conduct primarily business-to-business sales and service, but there will also be a back office with support roles and some supplier operations. Additionally, there will be some human resource and information technology roles on site.

There won’t be any product stored at the company’s new location.

“What’s going to be in Brunswick is going to be what we call business account management,” Carpenter said.

As opposed to dealing directly with consumers, Wayfair business account managers in Brunswick will work with the company’s business accounts — whether it be hotels, schools or restaurants — looking to buy furnishings.

“We’re planning to have more than 500 job openings in Brunswick. It’s really exciting,” Carpenter said.

The jobs will range in salary, and Carpenter said the company is very competitive in its salaries and benefits. Every employee gets equity in the company, which offers a matching 401k retirement plan.

The company plans to bring another 450 full-time jobs to Bangor. “We have worked closely with the City of Bangor, L.L. Bean and Maine & Co. over the past several weeks to finalize our agreement to move into the building currently occupied by L.L. Bean,” a press release states.

“Wayfair has a great culture,” Carpenter said. “I think we’ll fit right in, in Maine.”

Carpenter said Wayfair felt Brunswick has a strong talent pool to draw from.

“Wayfair is really a technology company at the core,” Carpenter told The Times Record Wednesday, and employs more than 500 engineers and data scientists in Boston to support online shopping with its technology infrastructure. “We do love, love home decor and home furnishing and want to provide an amazing experience, but the backbone of it all is really technology.”

The company made $1.3 billion in sales and saw 44 percent year over year growth in 2014.

According to an announcement regarding third quarter 2015 earnings, the company’s total net revenue growth was already at 76.7 percent for year over year to $594 million.

“There’s been a lot of opportunity — a lot of company growth — in the Boston area, and as businesses are looking to upscale projects, they’ve been looking to Maine,” said Peter DelGreco, Maine & Co.’s president and CEO, the private, non-profit firm that helped facilitate Wayfair’s move to the Pine Tree State.

“I think it’s quite an opportunity to be able to get a company from out of the state of Maine to come into the state and create that many jobs,” Howard said on Thursday. “That’s pretty substantial, and when is the last time that happened?”

“We are delighted to be a part of the redevelopment at Brunswick Landing and have worked closely with the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, the Town of Brunswick and Maine & Co. to finalize plans to join the Brunswick community,” a Wayfair press release states. “We are excited to work with the top notch talent in the Brunswick area to expand our operations.”

Steve Levesque is the executive director of the authority charged with redeveloping the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. He said that Wayfair’s role as an e-commerce company fits in with the vision for Brunswick Landing.

“Information and technology services is certainly one of our target industries,” Levesque said.

Levesque said MRRA had hoped to land a large back office operation in the former Navy Exchange building.

“So, it’s kind of a perfect fit,” he said, adding that high quality, good paying jobs are a plus. “It’s big. It certainly compliments what we’re trying to do.”

Brunswick lost several hundred civilian jobs when the former based officially closed in 2011.

Once Wayfair is up and running, the number of jobs at Brunswick Landing would increase from the current 850 to 1,300, Levesque said.

He added that small, medium and large companies all play their role and are important to the campus. Given its strategic location, Brunswick Landing is able to draw from three different major markets and is within 30 miles of 70 percent of Maine’s work force.

“We’re just happy that they’re here and we have good developers like Jim (Howard) willing to work with them,” Levesque said. MRRA provided some funds to help Wayfair with its fit up in the form of a forgivable loan if they maintain a certain level of jobs for a period of time.

“It’s a huge benefit to the landing and to the area and to the region, so it’s really exciting news,” said Brunswick Town Manager John Eldridge.

dmoore@timesrecord.com

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