Local retailers have boom, but little help
Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2005
New employees still not enough
By STEVE AICARD
LAPLACE — Local retailers are receiving record sales and record lines of consumers from the overwhelming growth of St. John the Baptist Parish from the devastating Hurricane Katrina. Katrina not only crippled the New Orleans area, but has laid siege on the surrounding areas as well.
“We did not have the number of employees to properly handle the population bombardment from the hurricane devastated areas.” La Place Winn Dixie manager, Paul Bourgeois stated last week.
Receiving shipments to replenish the merchandise was also difficult, with most suppliers coming from the New Orleans area. “It took some time to get full orders delivered on a regular basis.” Bourgeois commented.
Local retailers had to restructure their operating procedures; many had to limit their services, while others had to limit their hours of operation. One retailer stated, “It was frustrating and a little chaotic at times.”
The circumstances forced a hiring frenzy for the majority of the establishments of La Place. “Things are getting better. We have more associates to better service our customers.” Lorinda Villarreal, Operations Manager for Fred’s Discount Store stated.
Winn Dixie has hired 30 new employees since Hurricane Katrina, while Taco Bell has hired 20 new employees. “Service is getting better. We’re not 100% yet, but the customers are being taken care of quicker.” Shift Manager, Lakeicha Joseph stated.
“Customer service is always a concern. The customers are checking out quicker and we’re doing our best keeping the shelves full. We’ll hire more employees to ensure that our customers are taken care of.” Bourgeois added.
“There are still lines at the checkouts, but it’s not a long wait anymore. It was pretty bad for awhile.” A local resident commented.