The company that will lease the former Premier Bankcard call center in Spearfish was named one of Inc. Magazine's fastest-growing private companies the past four years running, and the Spearfish location will help it continue that rapid expansion, its president said last week.
TMone President Anthony Marlowe said the Iowa City-based company was founded in 2003 and now, less than a decade later, is soon to open its fourth location, which will allow it to add about 500 employees to its staff in coming years and add new corporate clients to a roster that already includes AT&T, Office Depot, and Time Warner Cable.
TMone is already hiring for the Spearfish office, Marlowe said this week, and will open in September with 50 employees. He wouldn't project how quickly he hopes to expand, but said, "We wouldn't have leased a 500-seat call center if our intent wasn't to fill it up."
Having the facility as a resource will allow TMone to pursue new clients, he said.
"We plan on continuing to be on Inc.'s list of fastest growing companies," Marlowe said.
There is one universally acknowledged downfall, in the world of economic development, to having a South Dakota location: People elsewhere have a mental picture of the state as a windswept, snowy tundra enveloped in a year-round blizzard.
TMone is fighting that image on its website with a video borrowed from the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation that depicts Spearfish as the scenic college town with the mild climate that locals know it to be.
"Some of the gut reactions from a few industry clients, they don't really understand the geography, so they think it's colder in Spearfish than it is in Iowa City," Marlowe said.
He believes his clients will be impressed with Spearfish when they see it, and said the proximity to Rapid City's airport is a selling point too.
TMone, pronounced T-M-one, operates what it calls "customer contact centers" in Iowa City and Des Moines, Iowa, and in North Sioux City. TMone serves Fortune 1000 companies by providing customer service, e-commerce, first party collections, inbound and outbound telemarketing, and telephone account management services.
The advantage to those companies is efficiency: they don't have to keep such a large work force on staff to handle those aspects of their businesses, and they can rely on TMone for its specialty skills in sales, marketing and collections.
"We have aptitude and competency in helping clients maintain existing customers and turn them into larger and longer revenue opportunities," Marlowe said.
He pointed out that those business processes will be outsourced to Spearfish, but not "offshored" - the jobs are still based in the United States.
The company expects to find the skills it relies on in the Spearfish work force, after Premier closed its doors and laid off 330 call center workers in July after 10 years in the community.
Spearfish Mayor Jerry Krambeck, who worked for Premier for those 10 years, credited the Sioux Falls-based subprime credit card provider with the fact that a new employer is coming to town so quickly.
"It couldn't be better news for the community, and it came much faster than I think anybody expected, to be able to put somebody in that building," he said.
Krambeck said it was Premier that made the initial contact with TMone, and made it easy for a new company to move in to an already-outfitted office building, that had been donated to the city complete with the necessary computers, desks and phone lines.
"Then expediting the transfer and ownership of the facility to the city of Spearfish made a major difference in how we were able to market the facility," Krambeck said.
TMone is a relatively new company with executives in their 30s, but Krambeck said he's confident they'll be around for years to come.
"They've got a wonderful track record and I believe they're in a business that is needed," he said.
Contact Barbara Soderlin at 394-8417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.