After nearly 40 years of serving Springfield-area employers and job seekers, Alice Campbell Staffing is closing effective Dec. 31, 2020.
Founder and president Alice Campbell estimated that the firm has worked with more than a thousand Springfield employers in both the public and private sectors and placed tens of thousands of candidates in temporary and permanent positions since 1981.
“It has been a great ride and very rewarding,” said Campbell, who never expected the level of success she achieved. “We owe so much to our wonderful, loyal clients, as well as all the job seekers who placed their trust in our ability to provide work for them.” said Campbell. “Of course, our in-house staff also contributed greatly to our success. We all worked hard and learned as we went along, but we also had a lot of fun.”
According to Campbell, the company closure is due primarily to recent and impending retirements of key staff members, along with the devastation of COVID this year. “We are and always have been a family business,” she said. “We were not interested in selling the business, and none of our younger family members wish to take over.”
Business manager Jean Campbell said, “COVID was the tipping point. Clients started having hiring freezes, moving their permanent employees to work from home and bringing on fewer temporary workers. Things just haven’t bounced back, and who knows what will happen in 2021.”
The office at 2121 W. White Oaks Dr. will remain open through the end of January to wrap up loose ends. Jean Campbell said that once the business closes, she plans to pursue some other options on a part-time or contractual basis.
Alice Campbell Temporaries, as it was originally called, was founded in 1981 after a friend who owned a successful staffing firm in Chicago encouraged Alice to start her own company in Springfield. Campbell started in a tiny office with a desk, phone and electric typewriter. While marketing her new business, she paid the rent by helping people with their resumes.
Campbell recalled that her very first client was Kerber, Eck & Braeckel, who requested someone to help in the office. “I sent a very qualified woman who ended up being hired by KEB and worked there for 15 years,” said Campbell. “That was the taste of success I needed to keep me going.”
Campbell said the work was always gratifying. “Every day, we helped people find jobs. Some were down on their luck and lacked confidence. We did our best to help build their self-esteem and offer them work. Some, like teachers and college students on summer breaks, were only interested temporary work. But for many, the temporary positions turned into permanent jobs. We were able to open a door for those who were looking for long-term career opportunities. We prided ourselves on being fair, honest and paying a bit more than the going rate.”
While Alice Campbell Staffing mostly placed people in office positions, there were sometimes unusual client needs, including requests for several men to play Santa Claus at Christmas time, someone to go through trash to retrieve an important document, taste testers for a large food lab and a tombstone engraver, among others.
“It’s been an amazing journey, full of accomplishments, incredible relationships, plenty of laughs and a few tears,” Campbell said. “I am so proud of what grew from a seed of an idea into a thriving business.”