Local Retail Job Growth

By: Shane Symolon Email
By: Shane Symolon Email

Waynesboro residents are seeing a whole new variety of places to shop as the new town center retail development continues to open stores. More than that, it's also bringing jobs.

The new Kohls store is holding a job fair most of this week to hire the 130 employees it needs. Jamie and Tanya Francis, who just moved to Waynesboro from North Carolina, were there Monday.

"Where we were living was a very small town, no jobs. More or less a tourist community," says Jamie.

He and about 200 applicants are sitting down with Kohl's Department Store managers for interviews as the store is being built.

Kohls is just one of the new big box retailers preparing to open at the new town center. That's good news to Jamie and Tanya.

"I think it's a great thing. The more jobs the better. Where we're from, they're just not much of anything like that," says Tanya.

Waynesboro City Councilwoman Lorie Smith says the retail boom may help stop a slow but steady increase in unemployment rates.

"We know that will be able to help keep our unemployment rate more balanced, in view that we've had a downward trend in residential construction. So we view it as a very good thing," says Smith.

Retail jobs aren't the key jobs localities are usually trying to bring, but Smith says, now that retail has boomed, the city can focus on bringing industrial and business jobs to the area.

For now she thinks the jobs will help more people stay in Waynesboro instead of their traveling somewhere else to work.

"The jobs have come about simultaneously. With that occurring, we are getting some competition with salaries, and we think that's good for those looking for these types of jobs," says Smith.

Workers at the Kohls job fair Monday say they've felt the demand for jobs. They've had more than 200 online applications for the 130 jobs for which they say they'll be hiring during the next week.

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