New company filling void left by The Scooter Store in New Braunfels

IBEX Global looking to hire close to 1,000

The city of New Braunfels took quite an economic hit this summer when The Scooter Store -- once the city's largest employer -- went out of business and left hundreds of people without a paycheck.

A few months later the city is already recovering from that loss as a new company moves in and hires hundreds of new workers.

Deborah Thomas is ready to rejoin the workforce and she was hoping to find that job at the former Scooter Store headquarters.

Thomas was one of hundreds of people filling out applications Monday afternoon to work for IBEX Global, an international outsourcing firm that is opening up a new call center.

"I've been out of work for about five and a half years now," Thomas said. "This is it, I'm getting this job."

Greg Rajchel, Senior Vice President for IBEX's North American operations, said the company was looking to hire customer service representatives, supervisors and middle managers to run the call center.

The company wants to hire 120 people by November 4 and another 120 workers by mid-December. The company would like to have 800 employees at the call center by late next year.

Rajchel said hundreds of job seekers put in applications in the first few hours of a three day job fair.

"We actually had 300 people within the first hour and a half of our job fair today," Rajchel said. "Probably 30 percent were former Scooter Store employees, but we've had other community members and even individuals from San Antonio come out today."

New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil said the new jobs were a welcome development.

"You know, we're looking at possibly a 1,000 or so people, which is pretty close to what The Scooter Store had. At their height they had about 1,200," Pospisil said.

While it was difficult to put a number to the economic impact caused by the loss of The Scooter Store, Pospisil said a busy summer tourist season helped cushion some of the blow.

"Our sales tax numbers were up for the summer so it's pretty hard to quantify what effect that had other than hearing from people that they were laid off," said Pospisil, adding unemployment numbers are also on the decline. "The last report I had, it was back down to 5.3 percent, which is what it was before they started laying off people."

Those new IBEX Global employees will only be taking up one of the former Scooter Store buildings, but the mayor said they are actively looking for other businesses to occupy the remaining space and create even more jobs.

"Right now is a good time," Pospisil said. "We're actually working to maybe entice a few other call centers into the area, so we'll see how it goes."

Anyone who missed the IBEX Global job fair Monday can still stop by Tuesday and Wednesday.

The job fair will be held at the former Scooter Store campus located at 1672 Independence Drive in New Braunfels. The job fair runs from noon until 5 p.m.

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.

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