Food Lion EC job fair draws hundreds of applicants

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Food Lion representatives interviewed numerous people for open positions during a job fair at the K.E. White Center in Elizabeth City, Friday. The Salisbury-based grocer is seeking employees to fill open positions at the Farm Fresh grocery store in Elizabeth City it's buying from Supervalu, Farm Fresh's Minnesota-based parent company.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, April 16, 2018

Kari Adams is hoping she made a good enough impression at Food Lion’s job fair Friday that she’ll land a job with the grocery chain at its newest Elizabeth City store.

Adams, of Elizabeth City, was one of scores of people who showed up for the all-day job fair Food Lion held at the K.E. White Center to find workers for several stores the Salisbury-based chain operates in the region, including the former Farm Fresh store it’s in the process of purchasing.

Adams, who says she was laid off from her former job with the bakery department at the Elizabeth City Walmart about a month ago, said she was nervous during her interview with Food Lion officials but feels things went well.

"I think I have a good chance," she said. "I told them what I learned from my previous job was that you really have to learn to work with the customers because not all the customers approach you the same way."

Adams, whose previous employers have included IHOP and Hardee’s, said she’s interested in a job as a cashier at the Food Lion on Weeksville Road.

"It's nice store. It's clean," she said, adding she believes the location is calm and relaxing and the employees are friendly.

Patrick Leary, of Edenton, was one of many job-seekers sitting in a hallway in the K.E. White Center, waiting to be interviewed.

Leary said he has been out of a job since the Methodist Home for Children let him go from his resident counselor position a couple of weeks ago. He said he'd like to secure a shelf stocker’s job with Food Lion.

Although he’s never worked in a supermarket before, Leary said he’s “good around people." He noted his last job required him to show a lot of patience.

Jessie Calevas, a senior recruiter with Food Lion, said the grocery chain was seeing a lot of interest in job openings at its stores. About 10 applicants were waiting outside K.E. White's front door two hours before the job fair began at 9 a.m. and some 200 applicants were interviewed by noon, she said. 

Calevas said Food Lion was interviewing for management positions as well as for full-time and part-time hourly jobs. She said each applicant interviewed should find out if they’ve been hired within a couple of weeks.

For the management positions, "We're looking for people with leadership skills to help our associates ... to make sure we're meeting our customers' expectations in the community," Calveas said.

As for the hourly positions, "We're looking for friendly associates that are willing to come join our team and provide the best customer service to our customers."

Prior to the job fair, Food Lion said the company was seeking to fill approximately 100 positions in the area. 

The job fair follows the announcement that Farm Fresh’s Minneapolis-based parent company, Supervalu, is selling off 20 Farm Fresh stores in Virginia's Hampton Roads area and the one store in Elizabeth City. 

Ten of the stores will become part of Cincinnati-based Kroger’s Harris Teeter chain and eight will become part of Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division. The three other stores, including the one in Elizabeth City, will become part of the Food Lion chain.

Once Food Lion takes over the Elizabeth City store, Keith Sanderlin will be the new manager. Sanderlin is currently manager at Food Lion’s store at Halstead Boulevard and West Ehringhaus Street. The company operates two other stores in Elizabeth City: the one on Weeksville Road and another at University Plaza off North Road Street.

A Hertford resident, Sanderlin has been with Food Lion for about 27 years. In an interview, he said he's looking forward to the challenge of taking charge of what will be the company’s new store in Elizabeth City.

"I think us taking that store and keeping that customer base is going to really help the area," he said.

He made clear Food Lion officials are hoping to retain as many Elizabeth City Farm Fresh employees as possible.