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Supermarkets look to hire thousands

THE ESSENTIALS: How critical businesses are coping with coronavirus

A “Now Hiring” sign is seen outside the Aldi supermarket in Saranac Lake Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Though the coronavirus and state mandates have caused many people to lose their jobs and businesses to shut down entirely, one industry is looking to hire thousands of new employees during these turbulent times — supermarkets.

On Sunday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses close and asked many people to stay home and work remotely if they can. Non-essential businesses include nail and hair salons, gyms, movie theaters, tattoo parlors and most retail stores that don’t sell food or medicine. Restaurants and bars were mandated to switch to takeout and delivery only.

Here in the North Country, where tourism and hospitality are main economic drivers, those decisions put plenty of folks out of work.

With so many people buying up all the hand sanitizer, toilet paper and dry foods such as pasta and rice, someone needs to be there to stock the shelves, deliver products and cash people out at the register.

“The pandemic outbreak has been devastating to so many businesses and their employees. At the same time, we must keep our stores open to provide the community with vital goods and services — and though our exceptional teammates are working around the clock to do this — we need some extra help,” said Mike Miller, Price Chopper/Market 32’s vice president of human resources operations in a press release. “It’s our hope that this hiring opportunity provides relief to many for the sake of serving many more within our communities.”

Price Chopper, which has locations in Lake Placid, Plattsburgh and Malone, is looking to hire more than 2,000 new part-time or temporary employees. The new hires are for most of the chain’s 132 stores in six states.

The company is expediting the hiring and training process so that new employees can begin working almost immediately. Applications will be taken online at pricechopper.com/careers/.

Additionally, the company hopes to begin holding in-store hiring events in the near future.

Hannaford spokesperson Ericka Dodge said the company is looking for full-time and part-time employees at most of its 182 stores in New York, Main, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“The need for positions varies by store but in general terms, I can say that we are looking to fill positions in most departments at our stores,” she said in an email statement. “We are incredibly thankful and proud of our associates who have tirelessly gone above and beyond to serve our customers and extend care to our community and now we need to grow the team and expedite our efforts to hire and train new associates. Also, in order to provide additional care for our associates during this extraordinary time, we have introduced an appreciation pay to all of our store associates. Our full-time hourly associates at retail are receiving $2 more per hour and our part-time hourly associates at stores are receiving an additional $1 per hour. Salaried retail managers are receiving an additional $50 per week.”

In a March 16 Facebook post, Aldi, which has locations in Saranac Lake, Potsdam and Malone, said the company is hiring in all stores and warehouses across the U.S. The Saranac Lake location also had a “Now Hiring” sign outside its entrance Tuesday.

The Tops Friendly Market in Saranac Lake has two signs on its window saying it’s hiring In a press release, Tops spokesperson Kathy Sautter said, “While the current situation hasn’t been easy on anyone. If you find yourself or someone you know looking for a job, we’re hiring for temporary and permanent positions and welcome your application. Stop by any one of our 162 Tops stores, our warehouse in Lancaster, NY, or visit TopsMarkets.com/Jobs to learn more.”

In a follow-up email statement, Sautter said Tops is looking to fill 100 new positions.

“I’ve learned that since (March 17) we’ve already hired 279 people,” she said. We are hiring (part-time and full-time) and temporary workers, and they are primarily in the cashier and grocery clerk (stocking) positions. All shifts are open including overnights.”

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