Frederick Herchuk of Warwick and Jeff Golden of Cranston have something in common. Both were at the Courtyard Marriott in Warwick Tuesday morning. And both were looking for jobs, along with about 250 others who filled out applications with the supermarket chain ALDI over the course of the day.
But there are big differences between the two, as well.
Herchuk is looking to start his career. Golden, with 25 years of experience in retail, is hopeful of extending his work in the sector. Also, Herchuk is seeking part-time work to augment his current job in the cafeteria at the New England Institute of Technology, whereas Golden has been out of work since January when he left Ocean State Job Lot, where he was an assistant manager. He said there was a “restructuring of some of the stores and, unfortunately, I was one of the odd people out.”
“I’m looking to get into business,” says Herchuk, a graduate of Toll Gate High who has been attending CCRI on a part-time basis. He said it was his mother who put him onto the possibility of a job with ALDI and she had picked up that information online.
The $11.35 an hour the company is paying for cashiers would be a step up from his pay at NEIT. The company that has four Rhode Island stores also advertised for shift managers at $15.35 and manager trainees at $23.
All told, ALDI is looking to fill 10 positions, said Vincent Scotti, a district manager and Rhode Island native. Scotti graduated from North Providence High and has a degree from Bryant University. He also served in the Navy for four years and is a member of the Navy Reserves. He has worked at ALDI since September.
Scotti said the company is looking to add personnel because of its growth in the state. He did not know of any plans to open additional stores in Rhode Island at this time. Nationwide, the German company that boasts cutting grocery bills by 50 percent has more than 1,000 stores. The company has stores in 17 countries worldwide.
Golden is one of those who make up the state’s 11 percent-unemployed statistic. He’s been trying to change that, and although all he was doing Tuesday was filling out an application, he was out to make an impression. He was dressed in a sports shirt and slacks and carried a folder with a pad of lined paper. He was outgoing and willing to talk. Golden took courses at CCRI – he remembers it as Rhode Island Junior College – and earned a degree in business administration at Rhode Island College.
Since January, he has handed out more than 200 résumés and had a number of interviews, but so far nothing has clicked.
“I’ve come close to a few of them,” he said. “I felt they were within my grasp.”
His background includes managerial work with Sports Authority, Michael’s Arts and Crafts and the Dollar Tree. Ideally, he would like to stay in retail management, although at this point he’s not picky.
This is the first time he’s been out of work for an extended period. At other times, he was between jobs and knew that he would be working. Just recently, he filed for an extension of unemployment benefits. So far, the family is getting by. Golden’s wife works for the state. He has put both of his children through college and both have jobs.
Golden’s job search has opened his eyes to the state’s condition, and the picture doesn’t appear to be getting better. He hopes with back to school sales and then the build-up for fall and Christmas sales there will be increased demand for retail jobs. He hasn’t seen that yet.
“I think Rhode Island is in trouble. There are no new companies coming into the state,” he said.
Apart from looking for jobs online, Golden said he looks to network whenever he can and keeps applying for jobs. And, he adds, “It can’t hurt to know someone.”
“Believe me, I hope this doesn’t last,” Golden said of his situation. “There’s only so much laundry I can do.”
Scotti said those who completed applications would not hear from the company unless they are called in for an interview. Should the applicant be considered a candidate for a position, there would be a second interview where they would get to meet the store manager and walk through the store. Positions are to be filled at ALDI’s Warwick, Cranston, East Providence and Providence locations. Scotti said the store manager has a say in selecting his or her team.
Job requirements as listed by the company are that applicants be 18 years old or older, that they have a high school diploma or GED, that they pass a drug screening and background check and are capable of lifting 45 pounds. Retail experience is preferred for cashiers and management experience for manager trainees.
According to a release issued by the company, employees working at least 20 hours a week receive full health insurance, dental coverage and 401(k).