August 04, 2020

Service Merchandise to close in Brunswick; Net firm to hire

BRUNSWICK — Brunswick received some good news about jobs coming to the area Wednesday, just after the community learned its Service Merchandise store was closing.

The company says its Brunswick store is among the 134 stores that the jewelry and home products chain plans to close over the next four months as it seeks to revitalize its business.

The Brunswick store’s 43 workers are expected to lose their jobs. The company’s four other Maine stores — in Auburn, Augusta, Bangor and South Portland — will remain open, a Service Merchandise spokesman said.

But the economic news is not all bad in Brunswick. A Winthrop-based Internet service provider is bringing 400 to 500 new jobs to the area. EnvisioNet said Wednesday that it will open corporate offices and a major service center in the community.

EnvisioNet already has a call center in Winthrop, where the company employs 150 to 180 people, and an administrative office in Augusta with seven workers.

As for Service Merchandise, proceeds from inventory sales at its stores being closed will be used to reduce debt, said Bettina M. Whyte, interim chief executive officer.

In recent years, Service Merchandise, which was formed in 1934 and is based in Tennessee, has faced stiff competition from discount chains such as Kmart and Wal-Mart.

“This action is an important step in the company’s out-of-court restructuring,” said Whyte, a turnaround specialist who joined Service Merchandise last month.

Service Merchandise will have 213 stores across the country once the closings are completed, he said.

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