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New retail jobs attract plenty of local interest

The new Harvey Norman store on High St is currently on track to open in June – rather than around Easter as originally intended – but recruitment for the outlet’s staff is already in full swing.

The retailer held the first day of its two-day recruitment drive at the YMCA on Queen Street yesterday [the event continues today between 10am and 2pm at the same venue].

About 100 jobseekers attended, Harvey Norman head of human resources Tarryn van Niekerk said, where they had the opportunity to learn about what each of the company’s departments does at different booths and enter raffles, as well as apply for jobs.

“We’re looking to hire about 50 new staff for the Masterton store and we’re hiring people from all levels of experience,” she said.

“For entry-level and sales positions, we can teach you everything you need to know. We’re also looking for more specialised roles in admin and management.”

Harvey Norman “is a very stable employer”, van Niekerk said, noting that the company “has been in New Zealand for 25 years, and some of our staff have been with us that whole time”.

The company makes an effort to promote from within, a point that Daniel Harper-Grey – proprietor of the computer department at the company’s Tory St, Wellington store – was keen to emphasise.

“All of our general managers started as salespeople on the floor,” he said.

“There is a really clear pathway within Harvey Norman for internal promotion and career growth.”

That was certainly one of the attractions for jobseeker Danilo Stanic, who is “looking for work that’s a cut above fast food, with somewhere to progress within the company”.

Applicant Acacia Young agreed: “It’s really cool that if you don’t like one department you can move to another.”

As for the store’s slightly stalled opening, “our schedule has slid slightly”, construction manager John Pothan confirmed.

He put the hold-up put down to “a few weather-related delays, including Cyclone Gabrielle”.

The retailer has had an interest in opening an outlet in Masterton for 12-14 years, and Pothan has “written every single proposal” for a store in the town.

Previous attempts hadn’t come to fruition due to a range of factors but “now the right mixture for us has come together”, Pothan said.

“There’s a really good growth corridor through Wairarapa, and Masterton and its satellite towns have grown sufficiently to make the big investment required worthwhile.

The imminent closure of competitor Smiths City’s Masterton store is an added bonus.

The 4500m2 store will be “a pretty stock standard Harvey Norman store,” Pothan said.

“All on one level, with furniture, bedding, computers and electric appliances – the latest and greatest gadgets, with easy parking right out front.”

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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