Hundreds turn out for Prime opportunities

June 27, 1998|By SHEILA HOTCHKIN

A job fair held for the Prime Outlets at Hagerstown on Friday afternoon drew hundreds of local residents looking for employment.

"Look at the parking lot," said Alice Rosen, the assistant general manager of the new outlet center, as she surveyed rows of cars. "We're not even open for business. These are all applicants."

Job seekers began appearing two hours before the job fair opened and an hour before the retailers even arrived, Rosen said.

By the time the four-hour job fair began at 3 p.m., the food court echoed with the voices of about 200 people.


"It's very loud in here," said Sandy Phillips, who was looking for a managerial position that would allow her more opportunity than her current job.

The Hagerstown resident already had spoken to representatives from at least six stores and had four interviews scheduled for next week. She hopes to hear their final decisions soon.

"They're going to have to hire people quick," Phillips said. "They'll have to train them and everything."

The outlet center's grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 7.

The hot weather prompted many applicants to appear in shorts and T-shirts.

Said Rosen: "Somebody called this morning and said, 'It's very hot today. I'm wearing shorts. Is that going to be a problem?'" The Prime Retail executive said she would not hold it against anyone if they wore shorts in such hot weather.

Other applicants opted for a more traditional look. Matt Curtis, with 20 resumes in hand, arrived wearing a button-down shirt and tie to search for a managerial position.

"I figure I can suffer through a little bit of heat if it gives me a bit of an advantage," he said.

While he is happy with his current manager's position at Wal-Mart, Curtis still wanted to look around at the job fair.

"I kind of like what I do, but I don't like to pass anything up," he said.

Applicants could apply either with the individual stores or with the outlet center's management, who were hiring customer service employees and cleaning staff. Most interviewers were simply screening at the job fair, and will schedule interviews for the upcoming weeks.

No estimate was available late Friday on the total number of job applicants who showed up.

The fair will continue today at Prime Outlets' food court from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The outlet center is south of Hagerstown near the interchange of Md. 65 and Interstate 70.

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