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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
276-638-8801
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Gildan taking applications
50 residents seek jobs

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

By SHAWN HOPKINS - Bulletin Staff Writer

About 50 area residents were at the Virginia Employment Commission office in Martinsville on Tuesday seeking jobs at Gildan Activewear Inc.'s planned retail distribution center in Henry County.

Carol Ashby, director of sales and marketing for Debbie's Staffing, a recruiting company based in Winston-Salem, said a number of people sought positions while Debbie's Staffing was accepting applications at the VEC office Tuesday.

"We got a good response," she said, adding that Debbie's Staffing has just started the job selection process for a variety of jobs including materials handling, prep-pack and administrative positions at the soon-to-open plant off Joseph Martin Highway.

A Gildan official verified the company is working with Debbie's Staffing to recruit local workers for its Henry County plant.

Workers at the distribution center will pack and handle items including T-shirts, underwear and socks for Gildan's clients.

"It's a strong business that is an international company. They are experiencing a lot of growth. It's going to be good for the area. It's going to bring jobs here," Ashby said.

According to Michael Albright, director of human resources for Gildan's retail division, the two shifts at the distribution center will employ about 140 people. Their pay will range from $8.50 to $11.18 an hour.

However, about 70 of those employees will come here from former Kentucky Derby Hosiery plants that Montreal, Quebec-based Gildan acquired and is closing in Danville and Mount Airy, N.C.

"We're bringing over quite a few from our existing distribution centers," he said.

Albright said he was not sure of the exact hiring schedule, but the company hopes to be fully operational by March.

Employees hired through Debbie's Staffing initially would work on a "temp to perm basis," for a salary range of $7 to $10 an hour until they have 400 hours. At that time they would begin working for Gildan on a full-time basis and on its salary schedule, Ashby said

Ashby said Debbie's Staffing is "just getting started" in its hiring efforts for Gildan and plans other recruitment efforts, even opening an office in Martinsville. This office initially will just handle Gildan's needs but later will branch out into other clients, she said, adding that she could not say when the office would open.

Those interested in applying for the Gildan jobs still can put in an application at the VEC, fax résumés to (434) 836-1377 or e-mail pampayne@debbiesstaffing.com. Ashby said Debbie's Staffing may also come back to the VEC for another recruitment day.

Positions that are being sought for the plant include materials handler, prep and pack, inventory clerk, shipping and receiving clerk, lift truck operator, human resources assistant and others. An advertisement published by Debbie's Staffing said pre-employment drug testing and a criminal background check are required.

Albright said the company is looking for employees with some experience in materials handling, but there also will be entry level positions available.

Gildan announced in August it planned to invest $7 million in a 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Henry County that will employ at least 135 people.

Gildan Activewear is the leading supplier of activewear for the wholesale imprinted sportswear market in the United States and Canada, according to a release.

It sells T-shirts, sport shirts and sweatshirts in large quantities to wholesale distributors as undecorated "blanks," which are decorated by screenprinters with designs and logos, the release stated.

Gildan also is implementing an initiative to sell athletic socks, underwear and activewear to mass-market retailers in North America, according to the release. Kentucky Derby already sells to Kmart, Target and Dollar stores, as well as some department stores, according to a Web site.

The company was founded in 1984 by President and CEO Glenn Chamandy and his brother, Greg, as a fabric manufacturer, selling to companies that produced T-shirts.

 

 
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