The Better Business Bureau office in Spokane closed its doors Monday and laid off most of its sales staff, a spokesman for the nonprofit business watchdog said.
Tracy Vedder, director of communications for Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific, said BBB officials had decided to move those marketing jobs to Boise, where the regional office is headquartered, and Tacoma, which it had previously called home. But four employees will remain in Spokane and work from home.
“We are not leaving Spokane by any stretch of the imagination,” Vedder said. “We have closed the physical office down. But we are trying to be more efficient in terms of our operations.”
Vedder said “around 10” sales employees were offered the option of applying for jobs in Tacoma or Boise. Asked if they were laid off, she replied: “Absolutely.”
“The staff was notified (Monday) morning,” Vedder said. “We are concentrating our sales teams in two offices instead of three. Spokane is very important to the Better Business Bureau” Northwest and Pacific.
Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific handles complaints and rates businesses in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Montana and western Wyoming. Vedder said the sales staff was taking calls for businesses in many of those states from the Spokane office. But those jobs can also be done from Boise or Tacoma, where the organization has larger offices and human resources staffs, she said.
Vedder said Tyler Russell, the marketplace manager for Eastern Washington and North Idaho, will remain in Spokane.
“Tyler Russell is the voice and the face for the Better Business Bureau in Spokane. He does all of our business relations. He’s still going to be there,” Vedder said. “Three other people who represent our organization will work remotely.”
Reached by phone Monday, Russell directed all questions to Vedder.
According to company-provided literature, consumers turned to the BBB about 160 million times in 2017 alone to research business and brand names. The BBB also lists business profiles of more than 5.2 million businesses and reports on 11,000 charities.
The nonprofit, which is not connected to any government agency, solicits businesses to become paying members and offers accreditation and a grading system for consumers to follow.
The BBB first established a presence in Spokane in the early 1920s, Vedder said. However, she was unable to quickly determine how long the BBB has operated a physical office in Spokane. “It’s a reorganization for the efficiency of our operations,” Vedder said.
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