East Tennessee stores seek seasonal workers

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Companies are stocking not just their shelves but also their stores with seasonal employees ahead of the busy holiday season.

"A lot of stores are hiring right now and trying to get a head start before the holidays," Katherine Hough, a team leader at Francesca's, said.

A number of stores in East Tennessee are looking to hire both seasonal and even permanent workers.

"We're looking to hire some smiling faces to make our customer's experience great," Michelle Austin, JC Penney general manager said. "Holidays are a busy time of year and we really want to make sure that we have enough people in here to give our customers the service they deserve."

With the national unemployment rate sitting at 4.7 percent and the Knoxville unemployment rate at 3.2 percent, employers are working hard to attract those seasonal hires, with many companies offering above minimum wage pay and plenty of perks.

"We [at Francesca's] have a really good employee discount," Hough said. "It's 30 percent for anyone who comes in."

JC Penney offers workers up to 25 percent off its stores, as well as provides opportunities for seasonal employees to continue working after the holidays.

"We've had a lot of great associates that started as holiday help and got to stay on, so you never know. I know I started at JC Penney when I was 17 as a holiday hire, and we have a lot of associate that do that too," Austin said.

Turkey Creek is hosting a job fair on Tuesday, October 17, from 4 to 7 p.m. More than two dozen stores in Turkey Creek are hiring both seasonal and permanent workers.  Stores participating include: Belk, Buttermilk Sky Pie, Chicos, Sunglass Hut, Regal Cinemas, Kinnucan's, Francesca's, Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, Texas Roadhouse, Five Guys, J.Jill, JC Penney, Natural Alternatives Salon Spa, Kabuki, Target, Kirkland's, Calhoun's, and Smoky Mountain Brewery

Kroger held a hiring event on Tuesday in an effort to hire nearly 600 new workers in the area. If you missed this hiring event, you can submit an application on jobs.kroger.com

"We're hiring anything from cashiers to courtesy clerks, deli employees," Bentley said. "I think it's a great way to develop a social skill. You meet people every day so working here at Kroger, you see so many people and it's a great way to develop friendships."

Though October might seem a bit early to start thinking about December, retail workers said the holiday shopping season has already begun.

"I just helped a woman last week who was already starting to do stocking stuffers, so people are already getting at it. It's a fun time to work in retail," Hough said.

Companies hiring seasonal workers

JC Penney

The General Manager at JC Penney in Turkey Creek says his store plans to hire a bunch of seasonal workers and some could be permanent.

He said all of the jobs will be paid above minimum wage and all seasonal and permanent employees get a 25 percent discount on purchases at teh store.


Kroger said they are looking to fill nearly 600 different positions throughout East and Middle Tennessee, Southern Kentucky and North Alabama.

Click here to search for season jobs on their website.


Target said they plan on hiring 100,000 employees at its 1,816 stores across the United States. Additionally, Target will hire 4,500 team members at the company's distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish products to stores and fulfill digital sales throughout the season.

Benefits include market-competitive wages, a 10 percent discount at Target and Target.com and a 20 percent merchandise wellness discount for fruits and vegetables and all Simply Balanced and C9 merchandise.

Based on the success of last year's seasonal hiring events, Target will host hiring events at all stores nationwide on Friday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 15. The events will take place at each of the company's 1,816 stores from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. each day for the 100,000 store positions with the potential for eligible applicants to interview on-the-spot and receive a conditional job offer during the weekend events. Interested candidates will have the opportunity to meet directly with Target store leaders.


The arts and crafts store said they plan to hire more than 15,000 seasonal positions across the United States. Benefits include flexible schedules and a 30 percent discount at the store.


UPS said they expect to hire roughly 95,000 people to drive, handle packages and take on other tasks in the weeks leading up to an immediately following the holidays.

About 35 percent of the temporary workers go on to land permanent positions, UPS said in a statement.

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