LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - While crews put the final touches on the new 153,000 square foot Wal-mart Super Store in Pass Christian, store manager Rob Richardson is in Long Beach looking for 300 associates to staff it.
"We're hiring for all positions across the board, both full time and part time," Richardson said. "There's an entire range of positions."
Wal-Mart set up a hiring center in Long Beach last week hoping to fill those positions. Associate Manager Dennis Cameron said, so far, things are going well.
"We've had about a little over 800 that have applied already for this store since last Wednesday," Cameron said.
Cameron expects that number to double this week. He worked at the Pass Christian store before Katrina. Now he's returning as a training assistant.
"Coming back is a big thing... four years, almost now, that Pass Christian's been down. It's nice to come home. And as for the people that were at Wal-Mart before the storm, associates, I'm glad to see them too. Because a lot of them have transferred to other stores and they're ready to come home."
When the Pass Christian super store opens this fall, store managers hope many of its former associates will be there. There will also be some new faces; people who are looking for something more reliable in these not-so-reliable times.
Blaine McGinnell applied Monday.
"Right now, you can't go for the small businesses because you don't know how long they're going to be here," McGinnell said. "This is a major business major corporation, so it's going to be here for a long time."
Martin Collins has been in the construction industry for 18 years, but is forced to find something new.
"My boss had to shut down his cabinet shop, so I'm trying to find different fields of work that I can progress," Richardson said.
He thinks the timing for the return of Wal-Mart couldn't be better.
"I feel real privileged that we can be able to open up a Wal-Mart store here in Pass Christian at a time when we really do need a comeback for the coast."
Wal-Mart's hiring center is located at the West Harrison County Center of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in the Long Beach Industrial Park. You can apply there Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or you can apply by clicking here.
Associates can expect to begin work in September before the store opens later this fall.