Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Outlet Mall Job Fair Draws 2,000

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Outlet Mall Job Fair Draws 2,000

Article excerpt

CHESTERFIELD * It's not easy to stand out from the crowd, especially when that crowd is competing for a limited number of jobs.

This crowd was angling to work in a new outlet mall. One man jokingly said he briefly considered walking into the conference room at Chesterfield's DoubleTree Hotel in his underwear to distinguish himself. Not a good idea, he decided.

With the metro area's unemployment rate hovering around 7.4 percent, more than 2,000 people from around the St. Louis area lined up Friday for the 800 available jobs at St. Louis Premium Outlets.

"There's a large amount of people applying," said Emily Zimmermann, the outlet mall's marketing director. "You have to be prepared and ready to impress."

Zimmermann said she was happy with Friday's turnout and hoped retailers would fill all available positions from the attendees.

St. Louis Premium Outlets is scheduled to open on Aug. 22, just weeks after another outlet mall in the same city. While the two could theoretically boost the city's economy, the dueling centers will offer some of the same store brands and officials have questioned whether there are enough retail dollars to go around.

About 200 applicants lined up when the fair opened at 10 a.m., Zimmermann said, many of whom were looking for full-time or managerial positions. Applicants continued to trickle in and out of the event until it wrapped up at 7 p.m. The 75 retailers present were mostly hiring to staff their stores with managers and sales associates, while the shopping center was hiring staff for positions such as maintenance and security.

One hopeful, Philip Callas of Ballwin, said he noticed the diversity of the event, with people of different ages, races and economic backgrounds.

Callas, 47, has worked as a clerk at Target for two years and said he was looking for a new full-time job.

"I knew there'd be many positions open so I thought it'd be a good place to focus my energy," he said.

Outside the conference room lined with retailers' tables, applicants sat to fill out applications. …

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