Market Basket in Biddeford starts hiring 300 workers

Posted May 18, 2013, at 2:52 p.m.
The new Market Basket supermarket is shown under construction Friday. The store plans to open this summer and is accepting applications for 300 openings
Dina Mendros | Journal Tribune
The new Market Basket supermarket is shown under construction Friday. The store plans to open this summer and is accepting applications for 300 openings

BIDDEFORD, Maine — City officials and potential customers alike say they’re excited about the new Market Basket supermarket slated to open this summer in Biddeford.

The store will be located at The Shops at Biddeford Crossing on Route 111 and area residents at the shopping center Friday said they’re looking forward to more competitive prices from the grocer.

Economic Development Director Daniel Stevenson said he’s also happy -– about the 300 new jobs coming to Biddeford.

Although building renovations of the 108,000-square-foot space are still under way, applications are being accepted, with more than 500 already received, and the interviewing process will begin in approximately two weeks, said Market Basket spokesman David McLean.

Hiring for the store, which could open as soon as July, will take place soon, he said. This will allow time for new employees to go through a training process that will last from three to eight weeks, depending on the position.

Positions to be filled include cashiers, stock clerks, meat cutters, bakers, food preparers and other jobs, said McLean.

Of the 300 openings, the majority will be part-time, and about 20 to 25 percent will be full-time, which is the industry standard, he said.

Interviews will take place on site in Biddeford, said McLean.

“We’ll interview everyone we possibly can,” he said. “At the primary interview, we’ll see what their interests are” and try to match those interests with positions.

The hundreds of new jobs that Market Basket will bring to the area will be a boon for Biddeford, said Stevenson, who said he has been working closely with store management.

“My office has been marshaling them through the process,” he said.

In recent years, hundreds of jobs have been lost in Biddeford as several major employers have closed shop. This includes the 100 jobs lost when the Lowe’s home improvement store, which occupied the site that Market Basket is renovating, left town in October 2011.

In addition to the jobs, “the largest benefit is that [Market Basket] keeps the center healthy,” said Stevenson, and “will be a complementary use to the other businesses” at The Shops at Biddeford Crossing.

“A healthy center is an economic driver” for the area, said Stevenson.

Maintaining the economic health of the shopping center benefits the city as a whole, he said. The property taxes it generates make up a large portion of a tax increment finance district fund that is being used for infrastructure and other improvement in Biddeford’s downtown and mill district.

In addition to the store being a boon for job seekers and local economic development, potential customers are also looking forward to the opening of the new Market Basket.

Samantha Roberts said she and her husband travel an hour once a month from their home in New Gloucester to New Hampshire to shop at Market Basket, purchasing enough to stock their basement freezer.

“It saves us so much,” she said at the shopping center Friday. “We’re really looking forward” to the opening of the Biddeford store.

“I’m happy that they’re coming,” said Linda Scott of Kennebunk, who said she has shopped at the Market Basket in Newington, N.H.

“I think they’re going to be competitive,” said Beth Burchill of Kennebunk, who has also shopped at other Market Basket locations. “I think it will be good for the area.”

Market Basket, based in Tewskbury, Mass., has 71 stores, not counting the one to open in Biddeford, said McLean. The company is growing; some of the stores having opened in the last month and more are under construction in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Although the Biddeford store is the first to open in Maine, “I’m sure it won’t be our last,” said McLean.

Dina Mendros can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 324 or dmendros@journaltribune.com.

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