Xerox has announced it intends to close its customer service operation in Lewiston, displacing about 140 employees.

The Fortune 500 company that got its start with copiers intends to close the East Avenue facility by the end of October.

City officials are optimistic that the workers will be able to find work in the Lewiston-Auburn area, a hub of customer care centers, anchored for decades by the L.L. Bean call center and TD Bank’s back office operation.

“We’ve got TD Bank, Carbonite, Argo (Marketing), L.L. Bean and McKesson – all have major operations here,” said Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s director of economic and community development. “All these centers make me very hopeful that these 142 employees will find a soft landing relatively quickly with these existing companies.”

According to the Maine Department of Labor, about 10,000 people are now employed in customer care professions throughout the state. That figure doesn’t include recent hires in Brunswick, where housewares retailer Wayfair and customer service contract company SaviLinx are trying to hire a combined 750 customer service representatives.

In a release, Xerox said it is closing the Lewiston center because a client’s contract is ending.

“Due to the scheduled conclusion of a contract for the services supported by our Lewiston operations, we are making the necessary yet difficult decision to close the facility,” the statement said. “We realize this affects individuals and every effort is being made to ensure that all employees are treated fairly. This decision impacts one specific business unit and is not associated with Xerox’s previously announced decision to separate into two independent companies.”

Workers will be released when the contract concludes Oct. 31, and then the facility on East Avenue in the Lewiston Mall will close by year’s end, Xerox spokeswoman Coco Salazar said. She declined to identify the client whose contract is ending.

“We realize this affects individuals, and we are giving employees as much notice as possible, so they can make preparations,” she said in an email.

According to a notice the company filed with the Maine Department of Labor, about 125 customer care assistants will lose their jobs and about 15 members of management.

A job fair will be held on Sept. 28 to help place workers in new jobs.

Earlier this year, Xerox announced it was splitting into two separate companies, a move it expects will save more than $2.4 billion over three years. One company will retain the Xerox name and help businesses process and manage documents, including digitizing paper documents and payment processing.

The other company, to be called Conduent Inc., will focus on helping clients outsource services such as human resources, accounting and customer service.

The split came at the urging of investor Carl Icahn, Xerox’s largest shareholder. The transition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

According to Xerox’s second-quarter earnings report filed July 29, the company’s total revenues of $4.4 billion were down 4 percent compared to the same quarter in 2015.

Carol Coultas can be contacted at 791-6460 or at:

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