Craig resident Geoffrey Mansfield finished a job interview Wednesday morning at the Centennial Mall, and was smiling as he walked out.
“I think he hired me,” Mansfield said of his interviewer. “He told me to come back on (Sept. 29) for orientation, so that’s a good deal.”
Mansfield was among numerous local residents who attended a hiring event for Dollar Tree, a new local business opening Oct. 12 inside the mall at 1111 W. Victory Way.
Representatives of the store sought to fill 24 temporary retail positions and four managerial positions before the grand opening next month.
According to the Dollar Tree website, the store sells an assortment of household items and more. “Every single item is only $1 (or less),” according to the site.
Dollar Tree district manager Mike Pilon was on hand for the Craig hiring event. Pilon, who manages 14 store locations in Denver and Wyoming, said turnout was strong.
“It’s big,” Pilon said. “It’s very encouraging. It’s nice to have this many people interested in working for Dollar Tree.”
Of the 24 temporary employees Pilon hoped to hire, half would eventually stay on as permanent workers.
“Except for managers, we start everybody in a temporary position,” Pilon said. “Everybody will work through the Christmas season. Then, we’ll go down to 12.”
Employees who make the cut, Pilon said, have the best work ethic.
“It’s all going to be based on if they show up on time, what their work is like, and so forth,” he said.
Between the 12 workers who earn permanent positions and the four managers, Pilon said the new store would create at least 16 jobs in Craig, and perhaps more.
“The company sets a certain (sales) volume for every location,” he said. “Personally, I think that what they set is probably low. So, the more volume we do, the more we hire.”
Linda Dill, a labor and employment specialist with the Colorado Workforce Center, said she thinks job openings are on the rise in Craig.
“The whole last year-and-a-half is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” Dill said of Craig’s job market. “But, we’ve been getting brand new jobs in steadily for the past few weeks.
“They’re not high-dollar jobs, but they’re jobs.”
Dill said she and a co-worker attended the event to support applicants.
“(Dollar Tree) wanted us to come down,” Dill said. “We’ve been helping people with applications.”
Craig resident Rochelle Ellifritz filled out an application and interviewed with Dollar Tree reps Wednesday.
Ellifritz, who has seven years of experience as a cashier, said she’s been out of work for more than a year, despite searching diligently.
“I just love to work and stay busy because I’m that kind of person,” she said. “I have a desire in my heart to work.”
Centennial Mall manager Vicki Hall said she’s excited by Dollar Tree’s arrival in town.
“We hope that once (customers) get to (Dollar Tree), they’ll explore the other stores we have in (the mall) as well,” Hall said.
Hall said she is working hard to get vacancies at the mall filled with new businesses.
“We’re trying to be aggressive,” she said. “Anybody around town who wants a business location, we’re very willing to work with them.
“Let’s make a deal, let’s get (the mall) filled, let’s get rockin’.”
Pilon said Dollar Tree’s real estate department found the 8,458-square-feet location during a scouting trip.
“They’re out all the time looking for locations,” Pilon said of the department. “They liked the Craig area and thought there was an opportunity here.”
Pilon has been a district manager at Dollar Tree for four years. Before that, he managed his own Dollar Tree store location. He said the company offers “unlimited potential.”
“We have store managers and even district managers who started as stockers at Dollar Tree,” Pilon said. “It just depends on the individual — what their potential is and what their abilities are.”
Mansfield said Wednesday he hopes that’s true.
“Nowadays, if you don’t have some paper — you know, college credentials — you’re not getting anywhere,” he said. “You just have to get your foot in the door and work hard, and hopefully something good happens.”