By Debbie Carson, Online EditorVERO BEACH — Fresh Market, a high-end gourmet grocer, interviewed hundreds of prospective employees Wednesday – many of whom traveled hours for the chance to find work.Gene Baxley Schwiers, director of recruiting, said that next week Fresh Market would notify all the applicants to let them know whether or not they qualified for a second interview. She expects to hire between 80 and 85 managers, specialists and other employees. The job fair ended at 7 p.m. at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, located at 3500 Ocean Drive.
“We expect this to be a very successful open house for us,” Schwiers said.Several people at the open house said that they would prefer not to be interviewed, as they are currently employed and feared losing their jobs if their employers found out they were looking.One applicant, Earl Holbrook of Fort Pierce, said he would take that risk if it meant finding a full time job with benefits. Holbrook said that he currently works third shift as a security guard four days a week.Holbrook had been an engineer in Tavares, Fla., before losing his job due to the weakened economy in 2007.”I lost everything,” he said, including his sports car, his house and his job.Octavius Polk, 23, of Boynton Beach, traveled 1 1/2 hours to attend the open house. He found out about the job fair through a recruiter. He applied for a grocery specialist’s position in advance and said that he hoped to be called for an interview in a few hours. He said that if he were hired to work at Fresh Market, he would most likely relocate to Vero Beach to avoid the long commute.Job opportunities included positions within the following departments: Meat & Seafood, Bakery, Prepared Foods, Deli & Cheese, Produce, Front End, Grocery & Dairy, Coffee & Candy, and Gift & Floral.Schwiers said that Fresh Market will hold a second “mass hiring” job fair on Aug. 3. The time and location have not been determined.Fresh Market will be located in the former Publix grocery store located at 526 21st St. in Vero Beach.