New Businesses Bringing Jobs

Summerville Journal Scene

Katrina Moses

Summerville, S.C. -- Construction equipment and “opening soon” signs throughout town signal a business boom in Summerville – and just how much of a boom becomes clear in looking at the town’s business license data.

In all of 2014, the town issued 127 new business licensees.

For January through May of this year, the town has already issued 160 new business licenses.

New businesses mean new jobs. Dorchester County’s unemployment rate is already one of the lowest in the state – 5.5 percent in April – but still, notices of job fairs have been snapped up by eager job-seekers.

Grocery store Aldi has more than 1,300 stores in the United States. The store is known for its low-priced groceries. The new Aldi in Summerville, under construction where the old Dorchester Lanes bowling alley was, will pay store associates $12.35 an hour.

Amanda Dennis, district manager of Aldi, said the new store in Summerville is to open Aug. 27. At a recent job fair, she said there were 15 positions to be filled, and that is combining store associates and shift managers.

“We want anybody interested in a customer service position. There is training given, no experience required,” Dennis said.

Rakeem Wright, a North Charleston resident, attended Aldi’s job fair to apply. He said not only would it give an individual more customer service experience, but the location will give a lot of residents a job closer to home.

Debra Parsons, a Summerville resident, attended the job fair to apply and she reiterated that looking for a job for the last three months, this location is “more centralized” to Summerville residents.

They both spoke about the $12.35 hourly pay rate.

“Honestly, a lot of jobs in Charleston don’t offer that rate. They give you a lot of work, but with less pay,” Wright said.

Parsons added more to that.

“You can support your family on that-with lower paying jobs you can’t. You perform your job better when you are paid higher,” she said.

There is a Walmart Neighborhood Market coming to Summerville in August as well. It is smaller than Walmart Supercenters—it is expected to open Aug. 5 near Bacons Bridge and Dorchester Road.

John Phillips is the manager for the new store. He said that in the next six months they are aiming to hire 90 to 105 workers. The entry level pay will be $9 an hour, but by February 2016 it will be approximately $10 an hour.

“As far as training goes, we have computer based training,” Phillips said. “They [employees] will get a sponsor to work with them one-on-one. Then we will get them on the floor-like cashier training- or for whatever department they are going to.”

EarthFare and Petco are among the other big names coming to Summerville, but plenty of smaller chains and local businesses are opening as well.

Developers have told the town they expect the Earthfare to employ 100 people – 30 fulltime – and the PetCo to employ 20 people.