Carol Wright

Dr. Leonard's is closing up its Lincoln shop.

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Another Lincoln call center will be closing its doors, leaving more than 170 employees without jobs.

Dr. Leonard's Healthcare Corp., a New Jersey-based catalog and online retailer, is closing its call center at 5945 Cornhusker Highway.

Layoffs were scheduled to start last week and will continue into August, according to a required filing the company made to the Nebraska Department of Labor in May.

Dr. Leonard's President Joseph Albanese said in a phone interview Tuesday that the closure is part of a company business strategy to consolidate its call centers. The company has a center in its headquarters city of Edison, New Jersey, and one in Cleveland. It also has an offshore call center, Albanese said.

The New Jersey and Cleveland centers are both near other company operations, and "from a management point of view it made sense" to keep those open.

Albanese said the consolidations are not due to a drop in business, and in fact the company's sales have increased, he said.

According to the Labor Department filing, the vast majority of the jobs at the center -- about 145 -- are customer service and sales representative positions. The rest are a combination of supervisory and support positions.

It's the second major call center closing in Lincoln this year. Verizon Wireless in March closed its Lincoln customer service center at 4600 Innovation Drive near Interstate 80 in northwest Lincoln, costing the city 320 jobs.

Dr. Leonard's in 1999 purchased the assets of Carol Wright Gifts, another catalog retailer that went out of business. Carol Wright had a large distribution and call center operation in Lincoln that employed more than 600 people.

Dr. Leonard's re-established a call center in Lincoln in 2000, hiring more than 100 people at the time.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.

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Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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