Springfield, MO

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Season offers job opportunities

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by Melissa Wilson

SBJ Staff

For those looking for temporary work, the Christmas season provides not only opportunities to celebrate the birth of Christ, spend time with family and of course, clean up on gifts, but employment opportunities, as well. Many businesses begin hiring seasonal employees in late October or early November and either let them go in January, after the post-Christmas sales, or keep them on permanently.

Battlefield Mall Coffee & Tea Co. owner Clift Cox said the five seasonal employees he hired this year are college students with extra time needing extra money for Christmas.

"We usually keep seven or eight employees on year-round and have up to 12 for the mall's extended holiday hours," Cox said. Cox, who has owned Coffee & Tea Co. since 1988, said his store opens at 7 a.m. some days during the Christmas season, but his main customers at that early hour are mall employees.

"Seven is a little early for most people to be out Christmas shopping, but we sell a lot of coffee to mall employees those days," he said. Coffee & Tea Co. expanded in 1993 to include a store in the Joplin mall, where Cox said he hired five seasonal employees this year, as well.

Brentwood Center Town & County owner Bob Lowe said his four seasonal workers are also college students who wrap gifts as a free service to customers.

"We hire the same number of people every year, sometimes the same people if they're available," Lowe said. "If the same people aren't available, sometimes their friends will apply for the seasonal jobs," he said.

Town & County gift wrappers began the Sunday after Thanksgiving and will wrap gifts until Christmas Eve for last-minute Christmas shoppers.

"Our gift wrappers work in two shifts to accommodate our extended holiday hours. They work either from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.," Lowe said. Town & County is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week for the holiday season.

Eddie Bauer in the Battlefield Mall hired 15 part-time holiday employees this year, two of whom are teachers, said Manager Danielle Maness. Most of Eddie Bauer's seasonal employees are college students who started their temporary positions as early as Oct. 1.

"We hire Christmas help in late September and get most of them on board early for training, although we hold a few off until late October," Maness said.

Maness said depending on the store's turnover, three or four seasonal employees are kept on permanently after the rest are let go the second week of January.

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