Applicants line up for jobs at future EC ALDI
By William F. West
By William F. West
Sunday, November 18, 2018
Candace Godfrey is meticulous.
Godfrey’s attention to detail showed late Thursday morning as she spent almost half an hour filling out an application with ALDI, in hopes of securing a job at the German-based grocery chain’s future supermarket being built off Halstead Boulevard Extended.
Godfrey, 26, lives in the New Hope community in Perquimans County. She was among streams of applicants stepping in from drizzly conditions outside for an ALDI job fair being held in a conference room at the Elizabeth City Fairfield Inn and Suites.
“I heard that ALDI has really great benefits and they pay very well – and they just seem like a great company to work for,” said Godfrey, who’s seeking to become a store associate.
ALDI is seeking to hire associates as well as shift managers to work at the new Elizabeth City location.
Applicants, after filling out their paperwork, were interviewed on-the-spot by an ALDI representative.
Asked about her chances of becoming an associate, Godfrey said she believes they’re 70-30 in favor. She noted she has prior experience in the retail business world, having worked a stint at Dollar General when she and her husband were living in northern Virginia.
She said she had worked as a line sorter at Moneysworth Linen Services in Pasquotank Commerce Park until leaving in September. “I just decided it wasn’t a very great fit,” she said, also noting she believed she could do a bit better in her life.
Godfrey said if ALDI hires her, she wants to stay with the chain for a long time. “I would like to eventually move up and be a manager,” she said.
Supporting Godfrey is her husband, Michael Vestal, 27.
“I really hope she’s going to get hired,” Vestal said. “She has got a good work ethic.”
Vestal said he’s unable to work now due to a heart condition, but he said he did work in the past for approximately three years for insurance giant GEICO in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He said he worked as a customer service representative for homeowners and as a retention specialist.
ALDI operates more than 1,800 stores in 35 states and the company is in the middle of an accelerated expansion plan to increase the store count to 2,500 and create 25,000 jobs by the end of 2022.
An ALDI representative late last week didn’t immediately have information about how the company believes the job fair in Elizabeth City went, but an ALDI representative, Rachel Birsinger, who was at the job fair, said at mid-day of the turnout that, “It has been good.”
Birsinger noted there was a line wrapped around the outside of the hotel building prior to the doors being opened at 7 a.m. to start the job fair, which lasted until 5 p.m.
Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Economic Development Director Christian Lockamy said his hunch was the influx of applicants was both a reflection of applicants believing ALDI is a company they want to work for and of people in need of work.
“One in four jobs are retail oriented – and retail is a pretty large sector in every community, really,” Lockamy said.
Lockamy has served approximately a month now as the local business and industry recruiter. He said he’s continuing to work on getting a read on the local job market and said there’s areas he has gained a good knowledge of via research.
Overall, he said, “The biggest thing here, I’ll say, is that I can just tell that there’s opportunity here because of some of the pieces to the puzzle that are happening, that are coming together.”
“I mean, there’s just a lot of buzz and a lot of activity here, especially relating to the Halstead Boulevard area and the downtown area,” he said.
Also applying for a job as an associate with ALDI on Thursday was Christopher Caputi, 32.
Caputi said he had been working in a maintenance job at the McDonald’s off West Ehringhaus Street and said he has been out of work since July.
Caputi said he has a past injury and said the physical workload of his last job impacted his ability to perform.
He said he worked last year as a self-checkout host at the Elizabeth City Walmart Supercenter before being let go.
He said he believes he has a 50-50 chance at becoming part of the ALDI team.
“There’s a lot of people,” he said of the many applicants. “But, there’s always a lot of people coming to things like this.”
He also said he has prior experience working in the grocery business, at the Food Lion off West Ehringhaus and at the Food Lion off Weeksville Road.