for Kroger openings
July 04, 2007
IMLAY CITY — By 6 a.m. on Thursday, job seekers began lining up outside the Countryside Banquet Center in anticipation of interviewing for positions at the city's new Kroger store.
Many of them were former employees of the Imlay City Farmer Jack, which was one of 20 stores sold last week to the Kroger grocery chain.
Around 10 a.m. small clusters of post-interview applicants began to gather in the parking lot of the banquet center to discuss their respective fates.
A group of three middle-aged women opted not to share the results of their interviews, registering "no comment" responses.
Others, many with previous work experience at the Imlay City Farmer Jack, quietly celebrated their new employment status.
Dani Lince, 17, of Almont was rehired by Kroger on a part-time basis. While happy she still has a job, she expressed concern for some of her former co-workers.
"I have been rehired," she said, "but so far, about six of my friends have not been hired."
Brandon Dye, 22, of Brown City also received good news. He'll be resuming his duties at the customer service desk at the new Kroger store.
With a little more than five years under his belt at Farmer Jack, Dye said he had felt confident he would be re-employed.
"I had been optimistic until a couple days ago," said Dye. "That's when I heard about someone who had worked at Farmer Jack for 30 years and wasn't hired back. I didn't know what to expect.
"I'm taking a slight pay cut," Dye added, "but it's more about the benefits.
"Kroger seems to be in a phase of market expansion," he continued. "The impression has been for awhile that Kroger is a much healthier company than Farmer Jack was."
Back inside the banquet center, another 25-30 applicants sat anxiously on folding chairs, waiting their turns with the interviewers.
One of them, Peter Dufty, 19, of Lapeer was hopeful his past experience as a delivery driver would help him land a position.
"I'm unemployed and I didn't work at the Farmer Jack," said Dufty. "All I see is people going in (for interviews) and then walking out. I thought I could ride out my unemployment for the summer, but it's not working out too well."
Kroger officials hesitated to give exact numbers, but more than 100 people had filed applications before noon on Thursday.
A check-in list at the front desk indicated that the majority of applicants had been Farmer Jack employees.
Kroger officials on Monday announced their plan to close the former Farmer Jack store this Friday, and re-open on Fri., July 19 under the Kroger name.
Attempts on Monday to reach Kroger officials for more information were unsuccessful by press time.