Local retailers have boom, but little help

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2005

New employees still not enough


Staff Writer

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.

&#8220We 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. &#8220It 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, &#8220It was frustrating and a little chaotic at times.”

The circumstances forced a hiring frenzy for the majority of the establishments of La Place. &#8220Things 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. &#8220Service is getting better. We’re not 100% yet, but the customers are being taken care of quicker.” Shift Manager, Lakeicha Joseph stated.

&#8220Customer 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.

&#8220There are still lines at the checkouts, but it’s not a long wait anymore. It was pretty bad for awhile.” A local resident commented.