Walmart Begins Hiring for Ionia Store

By Ryan Jeltema, Writer

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April 7, 2005

IONIA -- Wal-Mart is looking for a few good men and women -- a few hundred, that is.

The retail giant began hiring employees Wednesday for the new Supercenter under construction on South State Road (M-66) in Berlin Township. Store Manager Dave Escobedo said he is looking for 280 to 340 employees.

"We don't want to over hire until we know (how busy the store will be)," he said.

Approximately 15 to 20 positions will be full-time, salaried department managers, while the remaining 300 will be full-time hourly or part-time to staff all 40 to 50 departments.

Wal-Mart Community Affairs spokeman Roderick Scott said the company is looking for employees with a variety of interests, from deli clerks to automotive technicians for Tire and Lube Express.

"A Supercenter encompasses a lot of different things. We need people who have all kinds of skills," he said. "We have individuals doing a little bit of everything."

Approximately 530 applicants visited the hiring site Wednesday, located at the former Governmental Employees Credit Union at 346 4th Street in Ionia, at the corner of Lincoln Avenue.

"It was a pretty good turn out. We're real happy. It was fun," said Escobedo, who was expecting 350 people to come Wednesday.

Prospective employees filled out an employment application at the hiring site. After that, they received a brief interview with one of nine managers.

"We just want to get a feel for them and their experience level," Escobedo said.

Managers will call back some applicants in the future for more in-depth interviews prior to officially hiring anyone.

Typical Supercenters employ 400 to 450 people, Scott said. Some of those employees will transfer from other Wal-Marts.

Wages for part-time positions begin at $7 per hour and average slightly over $10 per hour for Michigan stores. Pay rates for individual employees depend on their skill level and where they rank on Wal-Mart's wage scale, said Escobedo, who is transferring from a Wal-Mart in Midland.

Applications will be accepted at the 4th Street location today and Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 11 to 16. Escobedo said applications will also be accepted during normal business hours through May, until the hiring site closes.

Applicants don't need to bring anything to their initial interviews.

Construction on the store is still progressing on schedule. Wal-Mart has narrowed the Grand Opening date down to mid-June.

"The store's looking great," Escobedo said. "I'm hoping we do well. I get a feeling that Ionia is excited to have us and we're excited to be here."


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