Food City seeks to hire over 1,500 workers across 5 states

Amid one of the tightest labor markets in history, Food City is seeking to recruit hundreds of full- and part-time workers as cashiers, cake decorators, meat cutters, pharmacy technicians and warehouse and stocking personnel.

On Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Food City will host hiring events across East Tennessee and parts of four other states, including each of Food City's 27 supermarkets in the Chattanooga area.

"As we enter into the summer and traveling seasons, we are looking to hire over 1,500 associates across five states and 138 retail locations to best serve our customers," Food City marketing director Tammy Baumgardner said Monday in an announcement of the hiring plans. "Additionally, we are continuing to expand and add new retail locations within our existing footprint, including our Starbucks cafes and food service amenities."

Baumgardner said people interested in traveling should apply for Food City's retail stocking and reset teams as well as numerous truck driving positions with the grocery chain.

Food City, which operates the most grocery outlets in the Chattanooga region, is among hundreds of local employers seeking to hire more workers with unemployment now below 3% in metropolitan Chattanooga.

Pilot Flying J, the Knoxville-based chain of truck stops in the United States and Canada, also announced Monday it is seeking to hire 10,000 more workers to fill jobs across Pilot's family of brands.

Next Tuesday, May 5, all company-owned Pilot and Flying J stores and restaurants will host a hiring day event to prepare for the summer travel season. Part-time and full-time workers are being sought and those hired will be offered a variety of perks and benefits, including a fuel discount and free meals.

Next Tuesday's job fair includes in-person meet-and-greet opportunities, featuring on the spot interviews and swag giveaways, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at over 670 participating Pilot Flying J travel centers, Pilot said it is also trying to fill corporate positions in technology, finance, human resources, recruiting, marketing and guest services at the Knoxville sales and support center headquarters, as well as at offices in Dallas and Houston, and a new IT center of excellence in Atlanta

"Since 1958, we've fueled millions of journeys and we look forward to having more great people join us as we gear up for another busy summer and keep innovating to prepare for the future of travel," Paul Shore, chief people officer of Pilot Co., said in an announcement of the hiring day event.

Last month, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said unemployment in the six-county Chattanooga area fell to 2.9% - a tenth of a percentage point below the all-time low reached just before the pandemic hit the economy in late 2019.

Coming out of the pandemic, a record number of workers also are quitting their existing jobs, either because of changed family obligations or to pursue other careers with more opportunities opening up in the booming labor market.

The local job listing website ChattanoogaCalling.com created by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce to help lure more workers to Chattanooga lists 33,746 open jobs in the Chattanooga area. That's more than four times as many job openings as the 7,975 people counted as unemployed in metro Chattanooga last month.

McMinn County has been hit this year by the layoff of 350 workers at Resolute Forest Products in February and the planned layoff of 540 workers at the Waupaca Foundry by mid-June. But looking nationwide, the number of new jobless claims fell last week to the lowest level in more than 50 years, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Employers like Food City are hoping to lure students seeking summer jobs or new graduates wanting to begin their careers or simply earn extra money working any one of a variety of open jobs as school terms end this month. Food City typically hires workers in the spring to help staff for its busier summer months.

"It's an exciting time to be a part of the Food City team," Baumgardner said. "Our associates are our most important asset, and we offer excellent benefit options for both full-time and part-time associates, as well as competitive wages."

Food City did not disclose starting wages, which may differ across its five-state footprint depending upon local conditions. But the family-owned grocery chain said its benefits include training, health care coverage, dental plans, 401(k) retirement accounts with a 3% company match, vacation accrual, vision coverage and company-paid life and disability plans, plus an employee stock ownership plan.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter @dflessner1.