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Smith's preps for opening in July

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Retail > Recruitment is underway to double workforce

By Arin McKenna

Smith’s Marketplace is gearing up for its grand opening on July 16. Construction is in full swing, freezers and registers arrived Tuesday and the push to hire 140 new employees is on.
“We’re just in the process of thinking through what would be fun and meaningful store opening activities” said Marsha Gilford, vice president of public affairs for Smith’s Food & Drug Stores. “We want it to be a great experience and involve a good portion of the community, because this has been a process and a result that the whole community has been looking forward to.”
The new 110,000-foot venue requires more than double the current workforce of 130, and the nature of the marketplace creates openings for a wider range of expertise.
In addition to cashiers and grocery clerks, Smith’s/Kroger’s is looking for people with retail experience in apparel and home goods, chefs for their expanded prepared foods department and experts in liquors and wines.
“Mostly we’re looking for people who are friendly and helpful,” Gilford said. “The qualification is they need to enjoy working with people, enjoy serving customers.”
Wages will range from $10.66 an hour to $18, depending on the position and the applicant’s skills and qualifications. Courtesy clerks (or baggers) will start at a lower wage, but that position is open to 16-year-olds. All other employees must be at least 18.
Smith’s is holding a job fair at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino from 8 a.m.−5 p.m. May 22. They hope to be entirely staffed by June 28.
Gilford expects the three weeks prior to opening to be hectic with merchandising the space.
The new store’s expanded offerings include an upscale liquor and wine department, expanded bakery and produce departments, 250 linear feet of natural foods and bulk food selections, 20 feet of seafood cases and a 32-foot meat counter.
One of the highlights will be a Murray’s Cheese island, stocked with artisan cheeses from around the world.
The Marketplace will also offer made-to-order Mexican food, pizza, sandwiches and soups from the deli and freshly prepared meals.
General merchandise will include a selection of toys and seasonal goods, school and office supplies, apparel for men, women and children and a home décor department with lamps, accessories and tabletop items such as dishes and table linens. Baby world will cater to infants’ needs.
The new venue includes other perks as well, including a drive through pharmacy, Starbucks and a huge patio overlooking the canyon.
Smith’s/Kroger’s also has commitments from Super Cuts and Verizon for leased space at the Trinity Site development, and “several conversations” are ongoing for other spaces. Gilford anticipates August startups for Super Cuts and Verizon.
“I think it’s going to be an incredible shopping center because of the connection with our existing Mari Mac,” Gilford said.
“Having the light there is going to make it very walkable between the two shopping centers, and we’re going to be committed to creating a lot of energy and make it a retail center for the entire community.
“And we totally buy into the whole strategy of this store being an anchor for the shop local campaign, and try to keep more total dollars here in Los Alamos.”
The ribbon cutting for the new store is at 7:30 a.m. July 16.