With a $2 million renovation completed, a Redmond cellular phone call center plans to nearly double its workforce.

The Consumer Cellular facility at 2999 SW 6th St., near Redmond Airport, features new office and meeting space, remodeled restrooms and parking lot. It has room to house 700 employees, up from the current 357. With the six-month renovation complete, the company also signed a 10-year lease extension on the building with New York-based landlord Lexington Realty Trust.

Consumer Cellular is Redmond’s fourth-largest employer, behind the Redmond School District, St. Charles Health System and PCC Schlosser, a firm that makes titanium cast parts for military and industrial uses, according to Redmond Economic Development Inc. and Economic Development for Central Oregon.

Portland-based Consumer Cellular opened the Redmond facility in August 2012 with 150 employees, taking over the site of a former T-Mobile call center, according to Bulletin archives. The T-Mobile facility had been the city’s largest private employer when it closed two months earlier with 360 workers.

The recent remodel is the first significant improvement to the 75,000 square-foot building.

“I think we were going on 16 years since the building first opened with T-Mobile,” said site manager Tiffany Smith after a July 9 ribbon cutting. “It was definitely needing a refresh; it’s really exciting for employees.”

The facility is an incoming call center for Consumer Cellular’s customers, who are largely seniors with no-contract phones.

The job makes employees feel like a member of the family, said Jeannie Roura, who has been a supervisor with Consumer Cellular for seven years.

Roura said she advises prospective employees: “It’s not going to be one of those typical jobs. It’s one of those where we invest in them and they invest in you.”

The company has seen a slow in hiring because of a strong job market, Smith said.

Pay starts at $15 per hour, which includes benefits and, depending on performance, can reach up to $17.25 after 90 days, according to a company spokeswoman.

The company recently hired two recruiters for the Redmond site and holds walk-in interviews every Tuesday and Thursday, Smith said. Consumer Cellular hopes to have 600 employees in Redmond by the end of 2019.

Consumer Cellular features numerous amenities to entice employees, including a gym with workout equipment that’s open during business hours, easy chairs and a game room with pool and foosball tables.

It has an automated store with sandwiches, drinks and ice cream that is restocked daily.

The company hosts an employee event like a barbecue or ice cream social each month.

“We have a really positive, great environment,” Smith said. “We focus a lot on our employees and the people that work here and try to make it as good an environment as possible.”

Patience is the key to working with customers, said Landen McKeown, who has been a customer service representative for 18 months.

He enjoys getting to talk with people across the country.

“Just be personable,” McKeown said. “I’m a red-­blooded American, they’re a red-blooded American. We’re just talking about phone service.”

— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@redmondspokesman.com

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