YARMOUTH — Cuddledown has closed the Yarmouth call center where it employed 26 workers and is moving the operation to Massachusetts. The company says a labor shortage prompted the decision.

A company representative said manufacturing operations will continue at 14 Yarmouth Junction. The company’s outlet store, at 554 U.S. Route 1 in Freeport, also remains open.

Cuddledown, which began in Yarmouth in 1973 as a family-owned business selling down comforters directly to friends, has expanded its product line to high-end bedding, sleepwear and home decor.

Potpourri Group, a catalog retailer based in North Billerica, Massachusetts, bought Cuddledown in 2013.

Stefanie Swalgen, vice president of human resources for Potpourri, said the call center was the company’s smallest, with 26 employees.

“The difficult decision was made … mainly due to labor shortages in the area, to service our needs from our other locations,” Swalgen said Tuesday.

Potpourri has transferred some of the employees affected by the closing to other jobs within the company and has offered assistance to others with “career transitions,” she said.

Maine’s unemployment rate in December 2017 was 3 percent, down from 3.3 percent in November and 3.8 percent a year ago. The jobless rate in Greater Portland was even lower, 1.8 percent, according to the Maine Department of Labor.

Scott LaFlamme, Yarmouth’s director of economic development, said he heard about the closing Monday and plans to meet with representatives from Cuddledown next week.

He could not confirm the number of employees affected.

“What it seems like is a corporate reorganization,” LaFlamme said. “It sounds like they are going to do everything they can to have (call center) employees relocated.”

He said he was surprised by the closing, but remains “supportive of their continued manufacturing” in town.

Representatives from the Maine Department of Labor said Monday that they were unaware the call center had been closed, and could not respond to questions about how many employees were affected or whether their Southern Maine Rapid Response team would assist displaced employees in their job searches.

Swalgen emphasized that Cuddledown’s other operations in Maine remain in business.

“We value our Maine employees and their skills, and intend to continue operating the Cuddledown brand out of our Yarmouth, Maine, location,” Swalgen said. “We have all of Cuddledown’s manufacturing in our Yarmouth location and will continue producing our quality bedding products from this facility. We will continue selling our high-quality Cuddledown products out of our existing Freeport (store).”

Read this story in the Forecaster.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 183, or [email protected]orecaster.net.

Twitter @JocelynVanSaun

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