IN THE CLUB: Sam’s Club Member Service Assistant Manager Kimberly Daponte, standing left, and Membership Manager Olivia Dear, standing right, speak with applicants at the Sam’s Club Hiring Center in Fall River. The chain’s new location in the city brings 135 jobs to be filled.
PBN PHOTO/MICHAEL PERRSON
By Rhonda J. Miller PBN Staff Writer
Editor’s note: This is the fifth in an occasional series of stories that will feature the companies and industries creating jobs in the region.
With 135 jobs to fill for the new Sam’s Club in Fall River, store manager Rachel Dufault has been working full time at the hiring center at the New Harbour Mall. Sam’s Club will open in the fall and is looking for a wide range of employees, from cake decorators to managers and pharmacy technicians.
“A lot of people who come in tell me they’re excited about the new store in Fall River and the jobs it’s bringing,” said Dufault.
It’s no wonder they’re excited about the jobs. Even though Massachusetts’ unemployment rate was at 6.6 percent in May, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fall River’s unemployment rate that month was 12.5 percent, according to the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The Fall River store is one of four Sam’s Clubs and Wal-Mart stores in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts in hiring mode. All together, the four stores are hiring for more than 450 jobs. Sam’s is owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Wal-Mart is hiring for 85 newly created jobs at each of its two relocated stores in Massachusetts, one in Fall River and the other in Swansea.
“I don’t look at the statistics I hear on TV about unemployment,” said Dufault, who was on the other side of the hiring desk 13 years ago after she was laid off from a job in shipping and receiving at another company in Fall River and found her way to a Sam’s Club.
“I applied for an hourly position, and I had some management experience, so Sam’s Club gave me a management position right off the bat,” said Dufault, a Fall River native. “I never dreamed I would run my own club.”
Dufault’s own “club” in Fall River is a 130,000-square-foot store.
In addition to the 135 jobs open at the new Fall River Sam’s Club, the company is hiring 140 people for its remodeled store in Warwick, due to open this fall. The old store in Warwick was razed in 2011.