MILLINOCKET, Maine — Facing a slumping market for foreign vacations, G&G Marketing LLC has retooled its Spring Street call center to handle cell phone advertising and emergency notifications, but still hopes to have 100 workers on staff by Jan. 1.

Effective Friday, the Millinocket firm temporarily suspended work for Cancun Travel Unlimited Inc. selling Cancun and Costa Rica vacations to customers in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, owner Mel Gould III said Friday.

G&G’s 22 employees are taking on paging work for Employee Notification Services of Florida, which has 1,500 toll-free telephone numbers and has call centers in Mexico, Florida, Texas and several other states, said Melissa Kelly, director of notification programs for ENS.

Given that the fourth quarter is typically slow for vacation providers, G&G might have opted to broaden the services it offers even if the U.S. economy wasn’t slumping, said Gould, who came from Florida to open G&G with other family members in June.

“But right now the number of [credit card rejections] we have been getting from people has been going up,” Gould said Friday of potential vacation customers. “People obviously have less money to spend on vacations.”

G&G might resume selling vacations after the first quarter of 2009 if the economy improves, Gould said.

G&G is wise to broaden its service base in the face of changing economic conditions, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.

The emergency notification market entails working for businesses large and small sending messages to customers, suppliers and employees, Kelly said.

Natural disasters such as Hurricane Ike, which have forced thousands of businesses and employees to relocate, show the need for quick, timely notification services such as ENS, she said.

The Town Council voted 7-0 in June to grant a $20,000 gap-financing loan to G&G, which brothers Mel Gould III and Bill Gould formed with their father, Mel Gould Jr., to operate the business. The company has two years to pay the loan, which carries a 5 percent annual interest rate and requires monthly payments.

The money comes from the town’s Revolving Loan Fund, which was established to encourage business development. The Goulds invested about $80,000 of their own money in the business.

“They are very insightful to recognize that there are other possibilities that they can pursue,” Conlogue said Friday. “I give them a lot of credit for being able to change their focus.”

The Goulds credit Magic, the economic development agency formerly known as the Millinocket Area Growth and Investment Council, and Conlogue for helping them get under way.

Kelly said her company was drawn to Millinocket by the Goulds and the fact that business and salary costs in Maine are a fraction of what they are in Florida, where call centers are common.

The Goulds’ call center at the Katahdin Business and Conference Center on Spring Street is the first in the Lincoln Lakes and Katahdin regions. It is one of the largest employers to open in the Katahdin region in at least five years.

“Call centers typically tend to be able to adapt in order to survive,” Kelly said.

ENS also is impressed with the quality of workers it finds in Millinocket, which is much better than what is seen in Florida, she said.

“They are more dedicated, dress more professionally,” Kelly said. “The community as a whole seems to have a lot more drive to see new businesses open here. They really want to see them succeed here.”

G&G still hopes to create as many as 100 full-time jobs by Jan. 1, Gould said. Instead of a sliding scale payment schedule geared toward vacation sales, G&G will pay workers $8 to $16 per hour, he said.