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Job seekers flock to Wal-Mart interviews

By By Steve Gillespie and Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Aug. 21, 2001
Crowded hallways and overflowing conference rooms were enough to tell Katie Scott that she was too late to apply for one of the coveted positions at the Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Scott, a Stonewall resident, is one of more than 100 job seekers who have been coming to Meridian Community College's Webb Center on a daily basis for more than a week in hopes of landing one of the jobs.
The number of applicants for positions at the new store continues to increase. Mike Moeller, a Wal-Mart co-manager, said more than 800 applications had been taken by noon last Friday.
Wal-Mart officials are hoping to fill 200 to 300 jobs by the middle of September, when local managers take over the new building. The store, near South Frontage Road, is scheduled to open in late October.
New store
Moeller would not say the average pay for the positions, but he did say that Wal-Mart is "very competitive with employee wages."
The Wal-Mart Supercenter will employee up to 550 people and replace the store on Bonita Drive. It will be staffed with current employees from that store, including its manager, Jimmy Palmer.
A second Wal-Mart on Highway 19 North will remain open.
For Webb Center employees, the scene is similar to one that occurred in 1997 when the center began hosting job interviews with more than 4,000 people to fill positions at the then-new Bonita Lakes Mall.
Moeller said he believes the overwhelming response from job seekers is because of Wal-Mart's popularity throughout the United States.
Many applicants
Shakyna Hodges said right now there isn't much else available besides the possibility of jobs at Wal-Mart.
Moeller said that even though the long lines are aggravating applicants, the abundance of candidates is making his job all the easier.
Applications will continue to be taken this week at the Webb Center, from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.
Moeller said the new store will be open 24-hours a day and will include a full-scale grocery store, vision center, tire and lube garage, a portrait studio, photo lab, game room and a McDonald's restaurant.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.