Residents hopeful about possible department store positions

Placer County received 17,771 interest cards in less than a year, personnel director says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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With a large amount of interest in the new McCaulou’s department store opening at the former Gottschalks location in Auburn, residents are talking about the difficulties of finding work. Local employers said they are hearing from a lot of hopeful potential employees. Newcastle resident Alice Alves said McCaulou’s hired her on Friday, and she is thrilled about working after a previous short job ended because of the economy. “It’s close, and I had been looking for two years,” Alves said Tuesday. “My daughter-in-law started a house cleaning business for model homes. I did that for six months. I only worked for about six months, and then I went out into the workforce again and to no avail. You kind of get tired. I thought, ‘I have got to do something.’” Alves said she worked at Sutter Auburn Faith in medical records for 18 years. Alves said although she had retirement benefits from the hospital, she still wanted to work. “You get used to working for so long, and you feel like you can still produce,” she said. After hearing from the Journal that the department store was hiring at its new location, Alves said she applied and was hired on the spot. A representative from McCaulou’s confirmed that the company sometimes hires on the spot if it likes the applicant enough. Although she doesn’t know what department she will be working in, Alves said her job has already started. “Right now I’m just tagging clothes because they are getting ‘all hands on deck’ to get the store open,” she said. “Hopefully they do it in July.” Auburn resident Sue Melvin applied for a position at the store Tuesday and said she felt very positive about the company. “The best thing is that the owner is actually here in person,” Melvin said. “That just shows how important it is to him that he gets quality people.” Melvin said she thinks there is a good reason why people are so interested in the new store opening. “Because it’s a quality business and people in our area have been waiting for quality merchandise. It’s not Target, it’s not Kmart. It’s an opportunity for people to shop in our area for first-class merchandise. I want to be a part of that.” Colfax resident Christina Keyes, 17, also applied to the store on Tuesday and said it would be “awesome” if she got her first interview there. Keyes said she has applied for a variety of jobs in the area, but it has been difficult finding something. “I have kind of been looking all over for a job, and (McCaulou’s) sounded like a nice place to work,” she said. “I have just kind of been returning to places I have applied and I haven’t gotten much word. A lot of places aren’t hiring.” David McCaulou, owner of McCaulou’s Inc., declined to comment Tuesday about how many applicants the store had received so far, but a representative of the company said with the attention the store is getting, it can’t handle the amount of applicants it’s seeing. McCaulou has declined to release a date for the store’s opening. Colfax resident Sherrielynn Blackmun was also applying at the store Tuesday and said it has been difficult for her to find work. “I just went to Starbucks, and they had an opening for four positions and there were 38 people there,” Blackmun said. “The jobs aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. I’m looking for a part-time job because I’m a student at Sacramento State. It’s been difficult finding a job, so I think this is a great opportunity.” Grass Valley resident Sophia Ralli, 25, said she has been looking for a job and by the time employers get back to her, positions have usually been filled. “What I have been doing is actually doing a lot of online searching,” Ralli said. “I have gone to Craigslist. I have also applied at I did get one interview with them, but it just didn’t work out with me. It’s just really difficult to find jobs around here and to get interviews even if you are totally qualified for the job. Basically, I have just tried to apply anywhere I can, but there are just so many people that need jobs and there are not enough jobs out there.” Ralli said she is taking the opportunity to sell homemade jewelry at Grass Valley’s Thursday Night Marketplace and is going back to school to help her find a job she likes. Nancy Nittler, personnel director for Placer County, said although the county is still in a hiring freeze, it is accepting interest cards for positions online. From July 2010 through mid-April 2011 the county received 17,771 interest cards, Nittler said. “It still indicates, I think, a significant interest in employment,” Nittler said. “I can tell you that for the recruitments that we have had open the (number of) applications per recruitment is high.” Vanessa Martin, manager at Original Mel’s Diner on Grass Valley Highway, which had its grand opening last June, said when the restaurant opened 1,000 people applied for positions. Ninety were hired. “I think honestly we were kind of expecting it, because of the economy and the location,” Martin said. “We still get a very high volume of applicants and our turnover is practically zero.” Reach Bridget Jones at