BIG FLATS | Wayfair, a family of e-commerce sites best known for selling furniture, officially announced a planned summer opening of a customer service call center in Big Flats that will employ approximately 450 full-time workers.

The deal to bring Wayfair to the 60,000-square foot former Corning Shared Services building on Zenker Drive has been in the works since 2015, according to Southern Tier Economic Growth President Michael Krusen.

Company officials said the decision to open the new customer service center is being driven by growth.

“Wayfair’s been going like crazy, and it’s really to keep up with the ongoing growth and supporting the customer experience,” said Liz Graham, head of sales and service at Wayfair.

She said she doesn’t expect jobs at the facility to see large variations seasonally.

“Typically the holiday season is the peak activity of the year,” Graham said. “But one of the things that’s been remarkable is we continue to grow, so we take on a bunch of folks as we head into the holiday season and then we just keep them and keep growing into the next year.”

Graham said the company is committed to the community after going through a long period of discussions and a search for an ideal site.

“We conducted a nationwide search (of potential sites),” Graham said. “The talent pool offered the kind of problem-solving mentality that we like. We really want people who are creative thinkers (and) that have the kind of work ethic that we’re looking for.”

Part of that search process, she said, was making sure they would be a desirable place to work in whatever community they moved into.

“We want to come into communities where we can make a difference,” she said. “We want to be an employer of choice.”

She said people considering a job at the facility should throw out their image of what a call center workspace looks like.

Graham said to think more in terms of a Silicon Valley tech company.

“There are a lot of collaboration spaces, soft seating and bright colors,” she said. “We can be a unique type of employer (in the region).”

That seems to be the case

One of the management-level job listings currently on for the Big Flats site is for a Nesting Coach -- a full-time person to help bring on new employees and get them comfortable in the work environment.

Graham said working for Wayfair in Big Flats will also offer advancement opportunities.

“As we launch new sites, we have a skill-based progression for the team,” Graham said. “As people get more expertise and tenure, we add more complexity and types of jobs within the facility.”

That’s part of a long-term plan.

“We view this as a career path for people, and we hope people come and have a long and interesting career,” Graham said.

“In terms of pay, we’ll be competitive in the market,” she added. “One of the things that attracts people to our teams is we have full benefits day one, we have 401(k) matching, we have equity opportunities.”

Krusen said he’s glad the deal is mostly closed, with just the approval of the PILOT and sales tax incentives yet to go.

“It’s been vacant for six or seven years,” Krusen said of the building. “It’s a nice building to fill.”

He noted Wayfair will be bringing in roughly a $20 million payroll to the area once they complete their hiring, which he expects to take place over a couple of years.

Krusen said his dealings with company officials lead him to believe they’ll be a good employer in the region.

“We’ve checked into Wayfair both as an employer and a company that produces a product,” he said. “They get high-quality customer service awards and are routinely ranked at the top of the list for places to work. We were very intrigued by the management team we met and their concept of making employees part of a team.”

According to a press release, the company employs approximately 7,700 people globally, with existing customer service centers in Massachusetts, Maine, Utah, Texas, Germany and Ireland.