In the early months of the pandemic, grocers across the country were eager to staff up their stores with additional employees needed to meet the demand for enhanced COVID cleaning protocols, surging orders for curbside pickup and delivery, restocking shelves, and more. Some grocers like The Kroger Co. even set up in-store hiring kiosks to meet the demand. But if the recent spate of hiring campaigns is an indication, it seems grocery is staffing up for the next phase or “new normal.”

The Fresh Market of Greensboro, N.C., is seeking to add 1,600 team members across its company of 159 stores. It will hold a national hiring event later this month, offering qualified candidates on-the-spot interviews.

“The 1,600 new team members are across all 159 of our stores which averages out to approximately 10 per store,” The Fresh Market’s Nicole Tankelewicz told WGB. “The needs vary based on the store and we’re encouraging candidates to fill out an application online to schedule an interview; however, walk-ins will be accepted too.”

As to what’s driving the search for new team members, Tankelewicz said, “We have seen an increase in online ordering for delivery and curbside pickup, as well as in-store and the added positions, will help to allow stores to continue providing impeccable guest service every day.”  

It’s a similar story at Bashas’ Family of Stores, the family-owned grocer that operates Food City, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store, and both Bashas’ and Bashas’ Diné supermarkets in Arizona. The grocer is looking to add nearly 700 people to its roster, to fill a variety of full-time and part-time positions at its more than 100 locations throughout the state.

The open positions range from hourly clerks to store managers, and everything in-between, “especially skilled bakers and meat cutters who can immediately join the team,” the company said.

A list of all available positions at Bashas’ Family of Stores suggests a renewed focus on fresh as vaccinations continue to roll out and there’s perhaps a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.

“People who work in the foodservice industry, particularly restaurants, lost their jobs during the pandemic. They were hired by our supermarkets until their previous employers started opening back up. Now that those businesses are opening back up, these workers are returning to their former positions, leaving vacancies,” Ralph Woodward, SVP of Bashas’ Family of Stores, told WGB.

In addition to a variety of bakery positions and meat cutters, the grocer is hiring sushi chefs; gourmet and barbecue chefs; bistro and deli managers, cooks and clerks; Starbucks managers and baristas; produce clerks; floral designers; delivery drivers, and more.

Bashas held a job fair on April 8, during which applicants were invited to meet with Bashas’ hiring team for an interview, complete paperwork, and submit to drug screening. “In many cases, applicants will be hired on the spot,” noted the company. 

While Bashas is looking to fill a variety of food service positions left vacant by workers returning to the restaurant business, Woodward says the main driver behind the surge in new hires is a booming grocery business.

“Business is strong. We’re looking to add to our store teams. Our grocery business never dropped. We gained customer traffic,” said Woodward, adding that Bashas’ commitment to cleaning and sanitizing has been one of the top reasons customers gave for shopping the Family of Stores in the last year.

Fast-growing Family Dollar is also hiring. Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, which announced its combination stores in March, has said it plans to open 600 new stores (400 Dollar Tree and 200 Family Dollar) as well as renovate 1,250 Family Dollar stores this fiscal year.

The company said it plans to support its growth by hiring thousands of full- and part-time associates at Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores and distribution centers across the U.S. 

“With a competitive compensation package and a variety of shifts and flexible schedules, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are seeking thousands of motivated individuals to support our stores and distribution centers as we provide great value to millions of families across the country in clean and convenient shopping environments,” said Betty Click, chief human resources officer, in a statement. “As a leader in value retail, we are focused on training and talent development, and with two distinguished brands, we offer many career opportunities within a stable, growing organization that is committed to providing associates with a safe, positive, and professional work environment.”

The opportunities include full- and part-time managers at the company’s more than 15,400 U.S. store locations, along with flexible part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers. All Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores offer a monthly store manager Bonus Program, which rewards store managers for performance.

Positions in the company’s 26 U.S. distribution centers include management, as well as full- and part-time order fillers, equipment operators, maintenance, and warehouse associates. New this year, the company is offering all associates its pay-any-day program, a voluntary benefit that allows associates to advance their payday earnings for flexibility on meeting bills and expenses.