Door Stop Tests The Waters For Local Job Market

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The cabinet door manufacturing company that is planning a move to Payson is holding an open house this Saturday, Sept. 8, for locals interested in applying for a job.

Actually "open site" is a more accurate name for the Door Stop event, which will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., because it's being held outdoors on the site where owners Jim and Sioux Hill hope to build their new plant lots 2 and 3 of the Sky Park Industrial Park subdivision south of Payson Municipal Airport.

"We've gone out there and knocked down some weeds," Hill said. We plan to put a banner on the fence so people will be able to find us. There's a maintenance building with a patio cover and we'll take up some chairs and have pop and stuff for people who come by."

The Hills are holding the event to prove once and for all whether a work force exists in Payson that is adequate to meet their needs.

"This will hopefully be the last hurdle we have to jump over," Hill said. "We need to convince ourselves that we really can hire 65 people up here. We know we can get experienced people, but we're not convinced the entry level people exist."

Hill admitted that he has an escape clause in his contract that requires the Town of Payson to buy back the land in the event that a sufficient pool of workers isn't available. The Hills are paying $330,413 for the two lots, which combined, total 4.5 acres.

Supervisory personnel have proven plentiful in the Rim country.

"We've had dozens of applications from people who are very qualified," Hill said. "The point is, we need to get enough people to actually manufacture the doors."

Hill, who plans to hire about 50 people right off the bat, said the problem with his current operation in Chandler is a transient work force.

"Right now, people come to work for us, save a little money and quit," he said. "Then they don't have to work again for six months. That's pretty crushing when they leave after getting a salary increase of 50 percent in six months."

The hourly wage Hill will pay in the Rim country will vary according to experience, but he said most Rim country employees will earn $7.50 to $12/hour to start.

"Eventually they can go up to $18/hour, and there is almost unlimited advancement," he said. "People don't stay entry level very long with us once they show initiative and drive. They advance pretty quickly. We're looking for people who want a job they can advance in and stay with."

The 10 supervisory or department head positions the company expects to have available will pay between $24,000 and $40,000. The salaries for two foreman positions will range from $27,500 to $40,000.

Individuals filling the supervisory positions will be asked to work at the Chandler facility for two months before the company moves to Payson. Hourly employees will be asked to work in Chandler for three or four weeks, Hill said.

"We'll probably use a bus to get those workers back and forth," he said.

While The Door Stop is still putting its new benefits package for Rim country employees together, Hill said the company currently pays 50 percent of health insurance premiums after a six-month probationary period, and 75 percent after one year.

One week of vacation/sick time is granted after one year with the company, which increases to two weeks after three years.

People who attend Saturday's open house will be able to fill out an employment application, or just get questions answered.

Applications are also available at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce office on the northwest corner of Main Street and Highway 87.

The Door Stop hopes to make the move to Payson over a three-day period sometime in February.

"We plan to move the machinery and all up here in a very short time frame," he said. "We have to hit the ground running."

But until the Rim country demonstrates it has the work force he needs, Hill is reluctant to even set a groundbreaking date.

What kind of turnout is he hoping for?

"If three people show up, we'll have some second thoughts," he said.

To get to The Door Stop's site, take Highway 87 to Airport Road and go west. Then turn right on Chenault Parkway, which is just past the airport.

"We're just down from the Waste Management facility where they park all their trucks," Hill said.

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