Sunday, February 24, 2013

Phoenix Premium Outlets job fair: 1,500 apply for 800 openings

With 800 jobs available at Phoenix Premium Outlets, the crowd at last week’s job fair began lining up two hours early, at 8 a.m.

By day’s end, more than 1,500 job candidates had passed through the fair at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort on the Gila River Reservation. The outlets center, just south of the Loop202/Interstate 10 interchange near the convergence of Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe, is expected to have about 90 retailers when it opens April 4.

Maura Eggan, Premium Outlets vice president for marketing, said that she was “very gratified by the reaction to the job fair.”

Enthusiasm was high as prospects spoke with representatives of the 60 stores represented at the fair.
“I’m trying to help my parents out with some of my college costs, a head start for college,” said Samantha D’Sa, a full-time Arizona State University student and Chandler resident.

D’Sa explored the possibility of a part-time job with Max, a new Arizona designer line that has a “cult following in California and internationally,” according to Bhavini Garraway, a Max representative. Garraway said that the retailer is hiring for everything from sales associate to store manager.

“I’m looking for a part-time retail position and I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity,” said Gael McMurtry, a former Ahwatukee resident who lives in Chandler.

She is semiretired but likes to keep busy. She spoke with Laura Baniewicz, district manager of the Children’s Place, a children’s-clothing store.

Many of the shops were filling full- and part-time positions for sales associates and managers, conducting interviews with the grand opening six weeks away. Movado, new to Arizona, was taking applications only, but regional manager Baven Vatmanian said, “This shopping center is in the perfect location geographically and demographically” to appeal to shoppers for Movado’s high-end timepieces.

Elie Tahari, also new to Arizona, will be showcasing “high-end luxury women’s clothing, noted for its detail and its sexy, sophisticated look,” said director of outlet stores Maribel Britton.

Britton said among the biggest determining factors in locating in Arizona was the large number of Phoenix shoppers who have traveled four hours to the Cabazon, Calif., Premium Outlets center for its merchandise. The retailer’s extensive database reflected strong interest, so Phoenix Premium Outlets is among 12 stores that Elie Tahari will be opening in the next 24 months.

“The Gila River Community impressed me and adding a shopping component is an element that makes it even more of a destination,” said Eggan, the Premium Outlets vice president for marketing.
“Premium Outlets are known for their strong collection of designer merchants who offer 25 to 65 percent off every day.”

Eggan expects to see a mix of nearby residents and out-of-area visitors to the center during the April 4-7 grand opening.

Kathy Frederiksen, who has been with Premium Outlets in Orlando most recently, is the new general manager of Phoenix Premium Outlets.

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