RIVERVIEW — With the Sam's Club at Big Bend Road and U.S. 301 nearing completion, local residents have lined up at the nearby offices to join — either the payroll or the membership roster.
The discount membership warehouse giant is set to open its Riverview store March 10. The last of 170 permanent jobs at the new Sam's Club store were filled this week, and many of the new hires already have started working, said hiring manager Tracy Snelgrove.
She said she will continue accepting applications through next week for about 30 temporary cashier positions expected to last through the March grand opening.
"We're still looking at applications every day for attrition, to make sure we're where we need to be," Snelgrove said.
She said more than 1,300 people sought jobs at the store since Sam's Club started taking applications Dec. 9. Most applicants were from Riverview, Gibsonton, Apollo Beach and Sun City Center, and the jobs available were mostly entry-level cashier, shelf restock or clerical positions.
The majority of jobs went to new hires, with about 30 employees transferring to the Riverview Sam's Club from other stores in the chain. The store's payroll includes eight management positions, all filled, Snelgrove said.
Sam's Club hopes to open with a customer membership of 15,000. As of this week, sales associates had signed up about half that target number, Snelgrove said.
Sales associates posted at the Walmart in Wimauma over the weekend offered a $50 gift card with purchase of a $100 premium membership that includes extra discounts. Snelgrove said customers are likely to encounter such offers at local Walmart stores, which are affiliated with the Sam's Club chain.
Customers who buy the standard $40 membership are eligible for a $20 gift card. The promotions are expected to last through March.
Customers who want to beat the grand opening crowds can sign up at the hiring and membership center set up in a storefront at 10275 Big Bend Road.
A Valrico resident, Snelgrove said she was familiar with the area near Summerfield, where the new store is under construction, before accepting her Sam's Club management job.
"I remember the days when it was nothing but pasture," she said, noting that Riverview is considered one of the fastest growing communities in Florida.
Successful job applicants have been excited to get work in a tough economy, but customers also have been enthusiastic, Snelgrove said.
South Hillsborough residents who shop at the Sam's Club in Brandon sometimes faced a challenging trip on Interstate 75 or U.S. 301 because of heavy traffic, she said.
"I know that we have been trying for years to get a club into Riverview," she said.
Job seekers can apply online at walmart.com/apply and select "Sam's Club #4801."
Susan Green can be reached at email@example.com.