The grocery store chain is closing for good in Chicago, leaving over 6,000 Dominick's workers looking for a new job. Many of those employees have never worked anywhere but Dominick's. Tuesday's job fair is giving them a well-needed opportunity.
"I've done everything in the store, currently I'm the liquor manager," said Louis Pappas, Dominick's employee.
Louis Pappas has worked at Dominick's off and on since 1983. He and hundreds of other soon-to-be out-of-work Dominick's employees took advantage of a job fair. Representatives from over 40 companies were on hand to meet and greet.
"We are always looking for good talent to fill our positions at Coca-Cola, whether it be merchandising, sales, distribution, warehouse," said Mike Dilger, Coca-Cola.
Last month, Dominicks parent company Safeway announced it was closing the longtime Chicago grocery store chain. Out of 72 stores, four have bought by rival Jewel. The company plans to keep about 450 of Dominick's workers, but thousands more are left looking for jobs.
"Our concern really is our employee base, particularly those people who have been with us for a long time who have not been out in the workforce, in the arena doing the interviewing, the resume writing process," said Laurie Sanders, Dominick's spokesperson.
Several employees have worked at Dominick's since high school.
"I've been there since I was 16, this is my first job. I don't know what I'm going to do yet, I'm very scared. I'm hoping from this job fair something will come out of it," said Mindy Meesenburg, Dominick's employee.
Working at Dominick's is also all Paula Vanis knows. She is a 30-year employee.
"It's another step in life to get over. Am I gonna miss Dominick's, I sure am. I've been through Dominick's and every store in the company and I enjoyed it, I liked it," said Paula Vanis, Dominick's employee.
Several employees walked around the fair with a positive outlook, trying to view their next step in life as an opportunity.
"As long as there is a job opportunity I'm good," said Mitch Mariotti, Dominick's employee.
"If you think like a failure, then you probably will fail. You gotta be very positive about the whole process, about the whole outlook," said Pappas.
The job fair was just an opportunity for Dominick's workers to make contacts with the 40 local companies that participated. No one expected to walk out with a firm job offer. The fair is open until 6pm on Tuesday. The grocery store chain plans to close all its unsold stores by the end of the year.