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AUGUST 4, 1997

Features

bauer Bothell Mayor John Curtin addresses employees of Eddie Bauer's recently opened Customer Satisfaction Center in the Monte Villa business center. The 65,000 square-foot catalog sales facility will employee 1,300. Behind Curtin is Eddie Bauer CEO/President Rick Fersch.

A.T. Walgamott/staff photo

Eddie Bauer opens new Bothell call center

  by A.T. Walgamott
   Bothell and Eddie Bauer officials pruned an ivy vine in keeping with the company's outdoors image outside the new Customer Satisfaction Center at Monte Villa Parkway last week, officially opening the catalog sales facility.
  
   "We're excited to be here," said Rick Fersch, Eddie Bauer CEO/president.
  
   The center will handle all national catalog ordering, customer satisfaction, corporate sales and interactive media inquiries. Actually opened several weeks ago, the 65,000 square foot, two-story building will house an average of 1,300 employees speaking 11 languages and fielding a total of 9 million calls annually on 660 phones. More than 56 miles of cable have been laid in the building in preparation for the task, according to Ken Wherry, senior vice president.
  
   "Eddie Bauer, wherever you are, you'd be proud," Bothell Mayor John Curtin said.
  
   The upscale, casual retailer established its first store in downtown Seattle in 1920 and published their first mail-order catalog in 1945.
   The company moved its catalog division from Bellevue to Bothell to accommodate growth and provide a better workplace for employees.
  
   "We are thrilled to move to this vibrant new business community," said Susan Knight, divisional vice president of catalog sales. "The new facility positions Eddie Bauer to better meet the demands of the catalog sales divisions and does so in a way that is extremely positive for our associates," Knight added.
  
   Catalog sales for Eddie Bauer are doubling every five years, according to Fersch, and accounted for nearly 30 percent of the company's $1.5 billion in sales last year. The company produces more than 40 different catalogs with a total circulation of over 100 million in the U.S.A., Canada, Japan and Germany. Eddie Bauer will have more than 500 stores in North America by the end of 1997, as well as several overseas, according to company estimates. Stores carry sportswear, home furnishings, dress casual clothing among other items.
  
   The company is also on-line at http://www.eddiebauer.com, and on America Online, keyword: EDDIE BAUER.
  
   Eddie Bauer will need to hire 70 new employees a week to meet current catalog demand, and position itself for the busy holiday season, according to company estimates. The company has been recognized as one of the top 100 employers in the country, according to Working Mother magazine.