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The eventual addition of up to 400 jobs is good news for the Cape Girardeau area, not just for the boost in employment, but because the old Sears building on William Street, vacant since Sears Grand opened on Siemers Drive just over a year ago, will have a tenant.
The city's newest employer, National Asset Recovery Service Inc., will occupy 40,000 square feet of the building. The call center, owned by Cape Girardeau native Chris Buehrle, counts Charter Communications among its clients.
Entry-level jobs will pay $8.50 an hour, with some management positions paying about $50,000. More than 850 applicants for NARS jobs came to a recent career fair sponsored by the Southeast Missourian, helping convince Buehrle that his hometown has the labor force to be a good location for his company.
The company already has begun hiring. One of its first hires was Cathi Schlosser, director of membership development for the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce, who will become NARS' human resources director.
NARS, which already has centers in Panama and Jamaica, received sizable incentives to locate in the state, including $466, 173 in New Job Training Bonds from the Missouri Department of Economic Development and $500,000 in developmental tax credits to help pay for equipment.
The company will begin operating with 150 employees at Auburn Park Place near West Park Mall until renovations to the old Sears building are complete. The Sears building will be outfitted with 400 work stations.
Greater Missouri Builders, which owns the old Sears building, anticipates offering the western portion of the building as retail space.
The city, Mayor Jay Knudtson, Magnet and the chamber played important roles in attracting this new business to Cape Girardeau. Welcome, NARS.