July 13, 2000

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


Ely has a new major employer in the recently remodeled Legion Building at 402 East Sheridan. Zephyr Marketing, a division of Zephyr Publishing, Inc. has leased Suite 102 from building owners Dane and Candy Sorensen. CEO and owner, Thomas Crain of Burnsville, Minnesota is excited about his expanding into Ely. With the promise of up to 50 jobs, paying a starting wage of $10.50 an hour, the economy of Ely is getting a big shot in the arm. Crain stresses these are permanent full time jobs and not seasonal as many jobs tend to be in the Ely area.

Zephyr Marketing does telemarketing from four locations. The other sites are in Minneapolis, Indiana, South Dakota and now Ely. Crain says he has 15 clients that he markets for. The big one is Visa and Mastercard, in which he provides credit to individuals who are trying to rebuild their credit rating. People who sustained economic reversals from divorce, unemployment or other reasons can through Zephyr qualify for a credit card. Other clients are real estate companies looking for new properties to sell and Chiropractic clinics that offer free evaluations and free first visits.

The Ely branch of Zephyr will be managed by Ely resident Debbie Schaper who will be the Marketing Manager. When the Ely branch becomes fully staffed former Elyite Maureen Maxson will move to Ely and hold the title Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Maxson has two children ages ten and eleven years old who will be going to Washington Elementary School in the Fall.

Zephyr already has hired six employees and new sales have already been achieved. Crain is very excited about this expansion and thinks Ely has a very good work force to tap into. He cannot believe how motivated the new employees are. Along with the $10.50 an hour rate of pay, Zephyr offers many incentives. Any employee who makes 8 sales a day receives a $20.00 bonus for the day. Crain said a good marketer can make $400 a month in bonuses on top of their regular pay. Special awards, such as gift certificates to local restaurants or weekends in Duluth are often given out to quota busters.

Zephyr hopes to be fully staffed to 50 employees within the next 30 to 60 days. The working hours are from 8:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M., so they will need several shifts to cover the hours. Although Zephyr wants full time employees they will also hire employees that can only work part time due to family needs.

Crain founded Zephyr in 1989 as primarily a publishing firm when he lived in Wisconsin. When he moved to Minneapolis in 1994 he tried telemarketing as an experiment and was surprised he had a talent in organizing such efforts. With several degrees in English, Elementary education and music he has learned his business skills on the fly. He likes to play drums in his off time.

Those interested in applying may apply in person at Zephyr Marketing at 402 East Sheridan, Suite 102, during their regular business hours.


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