Thousands of job seekers were trying to stand out from the crowd Thursday, as the Palm Beach Outlets held a nine-hour job fair covering about 65 stores at the Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard location.
Hundreds of people stood outside, sometimes in the spattering rain, to apply for more than 1,000 jobs that need to be filled by the center’s opening Feb. 14.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity,” said Yolanda Jaramillo, 48, of West Palm Beach. She has a part-time job, but hopes for full time.
Jaramillo, who relocated from New Jersey last year, was undaunted by the evident competition: “It’s a lot of people, but you always go positive in whatever you do.”
After 100 stores open in the central outlet area in February, another 10 big boxes are slated to open in the fall along the Interstate 95 boundary, including Whole Foods and Nordstrom Rack. Demand was so high for the new outlet mall, the developer is adding several smaller stores along I-95 as well.
New England Development and its partners bought the old Palm Beach Mall in 2010 and razed it to create the outlet. The reception from the city and community has been positive, largely because of the job boost expected and revitalization of the Palm Beach Lakes corridor.
“It’s 1,000 jobs, which means everyone is making money,” said Stephon Khan, 22, of West Palm Beach, as he stood in line Thursday morning.
“That should put a dent in the unemployment,” friend Cliff Seepersad, 25, said.
Inside many of the store managers were looking over applications and greeting the job seekers.
Katy Martin, store manager for Watch Station, said she plans to hire 35 to 40 people. The job fair was an important opportunity to see how applicants interact.
“If people don’t have the ability to talk to me, they won’t be able to talk to store customers,” she said.
Nearby, Dalila Gonzalez was looking for 10 people for the Maidenform outlet, two of whom will be full-time managers. She said she hoped to find a full staff from Thursday’s applicants.