150 jobs at Whole Foods?

Scott Condon
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

BASALT ” Whole Foods Market officials expect resumes will roll in any day now for their Basalt store ” even though construction hasn’t started and the opening is two years out.

They aren’t encouraging applicants quite yet, but because their company is consistently ranked as a top employer in the country, they know to expect to hear from job seekers.

The 44,000-square-foot store in Basalt likely will open in early 2010, Whole Foods Market Regional President Will Paradise said. Once it does, company officials estimate it will employ 150 workers. The positions likely will be coveted, even though jobs in the Roaring Fork Valley are plentiful.

The majority of workers will be hired from the Basalt area rather than transferred from other stores in the chain, Paradise said. At least 90 percent of the positions at the Basalt store will be full-time.

He said he isn’t concerned about finding enough help, despite chronic worker shortages in the Roaring Fork Valley. The company’s philosophy, philanthropy and benefits package attract people.

“I think that’s a big advantage for us,” he said. “People want to work for us.”

Whole Foods likely will hold two job fairs, within three and five months before the opening of the Basalt store, according to Paradise.

The grocery chain’s website prominently displays a graphic that shows it has been part of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” annually since the list started in 1998. It went from 47th on the list in 2004 to 30th the following year, then 15th and, last year, fifth.

The company’s workers, which it calls “team members,” get to vote every three years on the benefits package. The current package includes 100 percent coverage of health insurance for employees, a retirement plan, paid time off for full- and part-time workers, stock options and a 20 percent discount on purchases at its stores.

Paradise previously told The Aspen Times that employees in Basalt would be paid a competitive wage for the Roaring Fork Valley.

Consumers of natural and organic foods aren’t the only people who will benefit from the opening of the store. The company plows at least 5 percent of its after-tax profits back to its home communities and has other programs designed to help local nonprofits.

The company also assists local growers and producers with sales in stores and through a special promotion called Local Road Tours. The company also committed $10 million in low-interest loans last year to support local producers.

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