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Safeway Returns to Oregon City

Worksource Clackamas and Clackamas Community College helps.

WorkSource Clackamas Account Representative Kristine Deardorff knows a thing or two about building strong business relationships. She had been working successfully with Karla Reynolds from Safeway's Division Headquarters for some time when Karla let her know Safeway was planning a new store in Oregon City - a place that hadn't seen a Safeway store since the last one closed its doors in 1971. Kristine 300Kristine Deardorff,
WorkSource Oregon

Armed with this new opportunity, Kristine got busy planning for a recruitment that would cover three separate days, involve several partners and attract over 200 applicants for each session.

She tapped Clackamas Community College for their facilities and staff to help with the events; connected with the Workforce Investment Council of Clackamas County (WICCO) for laptop computers for applicants and the employer to use; and worked with the Employment Department's Web Content Coordinator, Sarah Stone, to promote the events on Facebook.

"Our partnership with Clackamas Community College allowed us to use their facilities, and have such a large-scale recruitment. My colleague at Clackamas Community College, Tom Brown, was instrumental in the logistics of setting up the computers, and also the audio visual, and scheduling the groups," Kristine explained.

"Our hard-working WorkSource and Clackamas Community College staff that worked the event, and the staff at the local WorkSource Centers that referred applicants and promoted the event, added to our success."

"Every applicant that attended the recruitment was interviewed by Safeway personnel, and then job offers were made to successful applicants after that."

Safeway ended up hiring almost 200 people to open the store. 64 of those were previously unemployed Oregonians.

According to Safeway's Karla Reynolds, "Kristine was managing our stores' job posting process. As we came closer to the Oregon City Grand Opening, about a year in advance, we started to collaborate with ideas about locations that can support us with services and teams to put Oregonians back to work.karla 300Safeway's Learning and Leadership Team, Karla Reynolds She also connected me to Clackamas Community College, about a half mile away from the new store location. It was the perfect location, not only to do the recruitment, but also to develop future Oregon employees in other environments, like large career fairs - how to get noticed and how to get employed." 

"There is no dollar figure we could put on that for Safeway. That partnership was so huge and monumental that we couldn't have done it alone. We couldn't have reached out to over a thousand applicants that came to the career fair or the three thousand applicants who applied within the two-week time frame. The dollar amount - I couldn't even calculate that. It was such a huge time saver on my part, coordinating all the pieces, the interview, the selection process, the hiring, and training. But it also gave us future customers. These are people who are shopping with Safeway."

But the recruiting success was just part of this story. Back at the new Safeway, someone had to make sure that the store was ready to open on time. That someone was Assistant Manager Francie Wright.

francie 191Safeway Assistant Manager, Francie WrightFrancie started with Safeway as a part-time checker after being out of the workforce for awhile, but was able to work her way up to the assistant manager position in just over six years.

"I was going back into the workforce. Hours were pretty tight, but I put my name out there to other stores and got hours that way. And after six years I became an assistant manager. I worked my way up from a part-time check, to a front-end manager to a person-in-charge (PIC), to a head clerk, second assistant, then I went through the management training program and now I'm headed to a store manager interview in June," says Francie.

"It's a lot of work to open a new store. I was hired as the assistant manager, but I was also hired as the store opening coordinator. I was the liaison between construction and Safeway. So I had to deal with a lot of different people. Many road blocks, but our deadline was to be open on time, and I opened the store on time!"

"Opening the store was a lot of stress. There were a lot of hours put in. It was such a great learning experience, and where else could I have done this? I learned so much, and that makes me more valuable to Safeway. I feel pretty good about what I've done."

Francie explains that the new store is a lifestyle store. "Which means we want to have things that the community would like. We want to identify the local farmers for our produce department. We have the organics that everyone is looking for healthier eating. We buy local. A large part of it is local, and when we do, we advertise it so that our community knows. We also like to get involved with the schools. They come to us for donations, we like to be behind them and let them know that we are definitely a part of the community, and we want to help out."

"Staff is working out great," Francie said. "What is really neat is that a lot of people we hired were from this community too. It makes the customers feel comfortable. It's like an everyone-knows-your-name type of Safeway store. I like that. It's more than just a grocery store. It becomes part of the community, and people feel good about where they are shopping. They know that when they come into the store they are going to be treated well and they are going to be recognized. I think it's important."

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