When Safeway opened its new store in Downtown Tillamook, they celebrated more than the newest and best that Safeway had to offer; they also celebrated a clean getaway from the area's infamous flood zone. Over the years, many a retail clerk had been turned into a reluctant sailor by the rising flood waters near Highway 101 at their previous location.
"We flooded from 1989 on - water in the building - so the company had been working toward a new store," said Assistant Manager Steve Berger. "They got it put together and got it back up in town."
The new store represents more than an escape from rising tides, it also marks a visible addition to Tillamook's revitalization of the downtown area.
"Safeway worked very closely with the city planners to bring that downtown look, Steve said. "Safeway is very heavy into revitalization of areas and the community has accepted it greatly - it's been wonderful. There have been welcome back signs all over and we've had a great time with the neighbors. That's what's nice. You can move into an area and the neighborhood wants you there. It's a very good working relationship with the community."
The new store brings more than a new downtown look and feel - it also brings about 85 new jobs. It features a full deli and bakery, expanded seafood and meat departments, pharmacy, Starbuck's, and a produce department that has tripled in size and selection. The new layout and look is what Safeway calls a New Concept Lifestyle store.
"It's a beautiful store." Steve exclaimed.
But a grocery stores can't run on looks alone. Stores need skilled workers to manage a large variety of perishable goods while providing a level of customer service the public has come to expect.
"Big hiring needs," Steve said. "We have actually doubled the crew that we had at the old store.
When we sat down and looked at the needs, the deli was greatly expanded. We went from five people to 25 people. That's probably the biggest influx. Starbucks added ten people. A brand new seafood department added four people, expanded produce - that doubled that crew from four to ten people now. And throughout the store, the bakery added people - you have to add extra checkers and courtesy clerks just to handle the business. That was a very big need that I was personally involved with and so you just sit down and figure out what you need and that's where we jumped in with WorkSource Oregon."
"They (WorkSource) are kind of an outreach group for hiring. Safeway's very heavy into reflecting the community, diversity wise. They want to hire people from the community. When people shop, they see their neighbors working here."
Steve really appreciated how the Oregon Employment Department and Management & Training Corporation (MTC) worked together to open their facilities for the recruiting effort. The WorkSource Oregon partners invited Safeway to use their office facilities for three major recruiting events, interviews, and even training classes for Safeway's new employees.
"That whole group out there is involved," Steve explained. "I've known them all for a long time. They just work fantastically for us. It's actually been kind of fun for the last year and a half once we knew the store was coming, go give a presentation to these groups and say these are the types of jobs that are going to be open. It starts laying the seed, that foundation, to get people interested in looking for those jobs."
"They helped us the most by totally opening the office up to our hiring coordinators. We were able to use their facilities. They were wonderful screening people, helping us out, and getting those applicants to us. Everything just went very smoothly."
"With a community this small, you have to tap into your resources because you just don't find people without them. WorkSource Oregon was a big part of it. They got our name out there, showed what was needed; we used them to find out who we had for applicants. We were very pleased with the quality of the applicants. Many of them have come in to take leadership roles immediately. I was very impressed with the applicants. They've all done a fantastic job," Steve said.
Steve would definitely recommend WorkSource Oregon services to other businesses looking the hire.
"For us having to hire 85 people in a very short amount of time the organization helped us through. If there is another business that needs to hire, I wouldn't see any other way to do it. It just went so smoothly for us. Any time we needed availability for a room, they were all over it helping us out. They just went above and beyond the call of duty. There were many, many compliments throughout our organization of the type of help and work they did for us."