Despite Hurricane Ian’s destruction, stores in Southwest Florida expect strong sales this holiday season and to get ready, they are busy hiring.
At the JC Penney at the Edison Mall, Ian damaged more than 30,000 pieces of merchandise after water got into the department store.
The store is still finalizing its repairs and hopes to reopen in a couple of weeks.
But to do that, it needs seasonal employees because Assistant Merchandise Manager Candice Buckley expects sales to be strong.
“Our main goal is to be open for the Black Friday season. So hopefully, that we cross your fingers. We’re trying to do a couple more things in the store. But we should be good by then,” Buckley said.
JC Penney is not alone.
Stores like Macy’s, Kohls, Bath and Body Works, Dicks Sporting Goods, among others are looking to hire right away.
Aldi will pay new hires $16 dollars an hour while Kohls and Penney’s will pay an extra $3 an hour to people who will work weekends.
John Mentaily took a job at JC Penny as a sales associtate.
He said he will make between $15 and $17 an hour.
“All my experience, I will say that they know how to handle you and you know how to talk to, like real professionals. And they hired me on the spot. I like that,” Mentaily said.
Amy Hanna with Career Source Southwest Florida said the holidays got here at the right time. She believes so many people need something to look forward to after dealing with so much pain and suffering.
A lot of these people are now getting, finally, into a position where the shock is wearing off, they’re realizing their losses, taking care of business and saying oh my gosh, I need a job,” Hanna said.
One to those people is Mentaily.
“Yeah, you gotta get presents,” he said.