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Applicants attend job fair seeking positions at new IGA grocery store

HARLEM, Ga. --- Numerous job seekers crowded the lobby and sidewalk of Harlem's newest grocery store on July 29.

The IGA on South Hatcher Street held a job fair for 20 positions at the store, which is slated to open at the end of summer.

Brittanny Morton, 20, of Dearing, was applying for a cashier position. She didn't expect to see so many other applicants.

"The economy is really not that good right now," Ms. Morton said.

W.L. Flowers and Co., which owns and operates the IGA store on West Milledgeville Road, and its partner company KJ Investments, purchased the former Thomson Co. site for the new supermarket.

Company officials said they expected to see a few hundred applicants during the job fair.

Available jobs included a few management positions as well as jobs for clerks, cashiers, baggers, stockers and personnel for the bakery, deli and meat departments, said Will King, W.L. Flowers real estate director.

"It is not uncommon," Mr. King said of the large number of applicants at the fair.

King said about 40 employees will be moved from the current Harlem IGA to the new store to total about 60 employees.

"We've got the basic skeleton of a management crew from the other store," Mr. King said. "But we don't have that (bakery/deli) department (employees)."

The 32,000-square-foot store is still under construction.

Coolers have already been installed and Mr. King said decor crews will soon add character to the interior.

"It is going to be kind of an Oliver Hardy theme inside, kind of an old-west," with wagon wheels, old-fashioned wanted posters and Laurel and Hardy silhouettes on the aisle markers, Mr. King said.

The store, located on nearly three acres, is more than twice the size of the existing IGA.

Shoppers will have a full line of frozen foods, bakery items, a larger meat department, a full line of health and beauty aids and an eat-in deli, Mr. King said.

Construction started early this year. Mr. King said he hopes the store will open Sept. 2.

"It is a big deal when we open a store in a small town," Mr. King said. "They come from miles around to see it. It is not like opening one in a bigger town."

Web posted on Thursday, August 06, 2009

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