BROOKLYN, Ohio — Dozens of job seekers of all ages came early and often on Wednesday, wrapping around the soon-to-be-open Menards home improvement store in Brooklyn for a hiring fair. Some of the prospective hires stood in line for hours waiting for their opportunity to land one of the part and full-time positions. Menards and grocery giant Meijer plan on opening a total of six stores across Northeast Ohio by the summer, creating hundreds of jobs in the process.
The new jobs come at a time when employers are struggling to find new workers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of open positions nationwide exceeds the number of people who are classified as unemployed. Even in Cuyahoga County and Cleveland, where the unemployment rate is a tick higher than the national average, there are still scores of positions open.
Those waiting in line outside the Brooklyn Menard’s store estimated the crowd to be more than 100 people at its peak. Job seeker Pamela Wendorff was one of them.
“I’m trying to get off of Social Security disability. It’s going to be interesting because I haven’t been in the workforce in 20 years so it’s something new for me,” Wendorff said. “It’s going to help me get food on my table and hopefully give me a career. I love working with people and making people smile and getting customers in and out of the store.”
Menards is opening three stores in Avon, Brooklyn and Mentor. Meijer is also opening three stores in Avon, Mentor and Stow. Although no official grand opening dates have been announced, all six locations are expected to open by the spring or summer. The Menards and Meijer locations in Avon are expected to create nearly 300 full and part-time jobs.
Despite staggering declines for some brick-and-mortar retailers, Menards and Meijer have continued to surge. Both companies have broadened their footprint in Northeast Ohio by buying up properties — particularly shuttered Kmart stores — over recent years. In Avon, both locations will be located in already dense commercial areas.
The Meijer location in Avon is expected to possibly open by May. The new Menards locations in Brooklyn and Avon should be open by April.
The crowd of potential new hires flanked the store’s west side. Some of them waited as long as six hours.
“It’s definitely worth it,” said Xavier Doaneant. “What I want to do is save enough money to go to the University of Akron and become a firefighter and EMT/paramedic. That’s the goal, but I have to save up first for college.”
In Brooklyn, the Menards store will be the newest addition to an already-established commercial area that serves parts of Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood, Brooklyn and Parma. Mayor Katherine Gallagher said the city will receive $220,000 in property taxes plus income tax revenue from those who will work there.
“We are excited to have Menards finally opening in April and to add additional jobs to the community,” Gallagher said. “Menards has been a good partner during the planning and building phase so I am confident they will be a great addition to our community. Brookpark Road is an already busy corridor with businesses and I believe this addition will make Brooklyn an even more desired place to shop.”
The Brooklyn Menards location will accept applications and have on-site interviews at 7700 Brookpark Road.
Interested applicants should stop by the store on Wednesday, March 13 through Friday March 22 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. The company is looking to hire for a variety of positions, including some full-time positions.