by Jim Keyworth
roundup staff reporter
They came early. They came late. They came all day.
When The Door Stop's job fair was over at 5 p.m. Saturday, 157 people had been interviewed for about 60 jobs expected to be created when the cabinet door manufacturing company moves to Payson early next year.
"We collected applications and resumes from a lot more people who couldn't stay to be interviewed," owner Jim Hill said. "I think it will easily exceed 200."
"Everybody has been telling us there are a lot of people in Payson who want good jobs so they can stay here. We found that to be true."
The turnout caught the Hills off guard. "We were overwhelmed by the response and a little bit embarrassed because we weren't prepared," Hill said.
"Our plans on how to handle the whole thing were based around a turnout of half yesterday's size, so we didn't have enough managers to talk to people, the time of the wait was excessive, and we didn't bring enough chairs.
"I'm sure we would handle it better next time, but we won't need a next time. What great problems to have."
The Door Stop held the event on its 4.5-acre site in the Sky Park industrial park subdivision to prove once and for all that an entry level work force exists in Payson adequate to meet the company's needs. Hill has an escape clause in his contract that requires the Town of Payson to buy back the property in the event that a sufficient pool of workers isn't available.
Hill said he is now satisfied.
"Once the story came out (about the job fair), we started getting calls and visits down in Chandler," he said. "We also have a bunch of applications to pick up at the chamber of commerce office where they are also available. We are pretty excited."
Based on the overwhelming response, Hill is proceeding with plans to move to Payson as soon as possible.
"I have some new machinery on order, and I am going to look at some more in Seattle in the next few weeks," he said.
Construction plans are also moving ahead.
One of the primary reasons Hill wants to move to Payson is a problem hiring and keeping a work force in the Valley.
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 an hour to start.
"Eventually they can go up to $18 an hour, and there is almost unlimited advancement," he said.
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.
Taking a moment to catch his breath Saturday, Hill sat on the porch of the maintenance yard building now on the site The Door Stop will occupy in a few months, looked out at the spectacular Rim backdrop, and said, "What's really interesting is that people have made a choice to live up here."