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Tue, Dec. 10

Wal-Mart in hiring mode as store opening approaches

PRESCOTT – The new Wal-Mart store has hired about 200 employees and will hire 350 to 400 by the time it opens in January, according to Pat Priest, community involvement coordinator.

Most of the employees – dubbed "associates" in Wal-Mart's corporate culture – are undergoing training in the existing Wal-Mart supercenter at Highway 69 and Prescott Lakes Parkway, she said. The new store will occupy a 150,000-square-foot building at 1280 Gail Gardner Way.

Priest, a nine-year veteran of Wal-Mart who transferred from the Prescott Lakes supercenter, said the new store recruited fewer than one-third of its work force from the existing supercenter. The existing supercenter, at 206,000 square feet, opened in October 2003 and has about 550 employees and replaced a smaller store in the Frontier Village shopping center.

Wal-Mart is recruiting employees for full-time jobs but is considering part-time workers as well, Priest said.

"We are encouraging college students to apply," she noted.

Wal-Mart has about 30 departments and has a number of openings in home entertainment, the tire and lube center, one-hour photo and the pharmacy, she said.

Asked what Wal-Mart is looking for from prospective employees, she said, "We want honesty, integrity. We want talent, of course, which we have been fortunate enough to find a lot of here."

Priest said Wal-Mart pays wages "compatible to the surrounding stores," ands offers excellent benefits.

"Wal-Mart is a good place to work," she said.

Wal-Mart has opened a hiring center at 1385 Iron Springs Road. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

Store officials hosted a luncheon Wednesday to introduce themselves to local civic leaders, and have scheduled a grand opening for Jan. 26.

Wal-Mart has invited several Prescott dignitaries for the grand opening, including Mayor Rowle Simmons, City Manager Steve Norwood, Police Chief Robert Reed and Fire Chief Darrell Willis. Also on the list are David Maurer, chief executive officer of the Prescott Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Kapp, superintendent of the Prescott Unified School District; and Jim Robak, executive director of the United Way of Yavapai County.

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