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Hundreds apply for Home Depot jobs

May 30, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

As The Home Depot prepares for its El Centro location's grand opening July 26, one of the questions asked repeatedly of Carlos Mendez, an Otay Mesa Home Depot store manager, is whether the national chain is concerned it might fail in the El Centro market as did HomeBase and Pace.

The 13-year employee said the local store will reflect the community and will thus be successful.

"The ownership lies with the people who work in the store," Mendez said, adding that store management will have the authority to order the merchandise demanded by the local community, and that the decision is not made at corporate headquarters.

The company is taking job applications at 320 Wake Ave.

On Tuesday, the first day of taking applications, Mendez said about 650 people applied.

Heber resident Gabriela Razo said she applied to be a cashier or to work in the kitchen or garden sections.


"The Home Depot seems a good place for opportunity," she said.

El Centro resident Aracely Solorzano, a former HomeBase employee, said she applied to be a cashier at The Home Depot.

"I used to work for HomeBase and liked it, so I would like to work for Home Depot," she said.

Both are unemployed.

But The Home Depot isn't attracting only the unemployed.

One Calexico resident said he applied for a full-time cashier's job with the store because of the expected pay and benefits. He asked that his name not be used because he doesn't want his employer to see his name in the paper.

Meanwhile, Mendez said the local store is expected to hire between 130 and 150 employees, based on local sales expectations.

Mendez said the most important quality is friendly people. He said the store will train the hired staff to perform the jobs for which they are hired.

He said applicants are encouraged to apply for as many different jobs as they want.

"If you're the right person for the job, we'll train you in that position," he said.

Mendez said there are also entry-level jobs. Jobs run the gamut from management to parking lot attendants, sales staff and cashiers. He said college graduates also work in the store but have the tools to advance faster. The company also has a associate manager training program for those applicants with some kind of business degree.

Mendez said the company offers more than minimum wage.

"It's what we consider top pay," he said, adding that full-time employees will receive benefits such as medical, paid holidays, a 401(k) savings plan and an employee stock purchase plan. Optional benefits include dental and vision coverage.

"The biggest benefit is the opportunity for growth and advancement," Mendez said.

The store began taking applications Tuesday, and will continue for the foreseeable future, including after the store opens.

"We're always looking for top talent," Mendez said.

Founded in 1978 in Atlanta, Ga., The Home Depot touts itself as the world's largest home improvement retailer, with more than 1,000 stores in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Chile and Argentina.

For fiscal 1999, the company reported net sales of $38.4 billion.

The company expects to have 2,300 stores open by 2004.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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