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Last updated: June 23. 2014 1:27PM - 3152 Views
By - mguydish@civitasmedia.com



Kerri Gajeski of Thornhurst was one of the people hired at the Gabriel Brothers, Inc. job event held Monday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Wilkes-Barre Township. She was hired as a fashion coordinator. Gajeski said she had left her last job in March when her second child was born but felt it was time to return to the workforce.
Kerri Gajeski of Thornhurst was one of the people hired at the Gabriel Brothers, Inc. job event held Monday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Wilkes-Barre Township. She was hired as a fashion coordinator. Gajeski said she had left her last job in March when her second child was born but felt it was time to return to the workforce.
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WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The economy may be picking up and the unemployment rate dropping, but you wouldn't have known that from the crowd swarming the Hilton Garden Inn in hopes of landing a job at the soon-to-open Gabe's store Monday morning. So many applicants showed up so early the doors were opened early.
 
“We've hired about 20, 25 people so far,” Gabe's District Director Robin Virbickis estimated shortly before 9:30 a.m. The event was supposed to start at 9 a.m., but Rhonda English, another Gabe's employee helping manage the crowd, said so many had arrived as early as 7:30 that they started the screenings ahead of schedule.
 
Turnout was so high — English estimated up to 100 people in the first hour — that applicants were sitting in a large group in an courtyard outside the room where the first screening was set up. Even the courtyard had overflowed, with chairs set up along the sidewalk leading to it.
 
Inside was the initial application and pre-screening room. Those who seemed to fit the immediate needs of the company moved onto another room for a more detailed screening, and if selected got to walk down the hall to room 124, where the two beds had been pulled out and tables set up for the final paperwork and official hiring.
 
Gabriel Brothers, Inc., bills itself as a “fashion retailer and the first choice destination for savvy shoppers.” It is opening a 50,000 square foot store in the the East End Center on Kidder Street on July 26, the company's 12th store in Pennsylvania. English said many of the people being hired Monday would be going to work as early as July 7, when the company will start setting up merchandise displays in the new store. English said they expected to hire up to150 people Monday.
 
It can't happen soon enough for John Pierre, who sat outside a crowded room 124 filling out more papers that would net him a job in stock loading and processing. “I have kids at home I need to feed,” Pierre said.
 
Originally from Brooklyn, he said he moved to Wilkes-Barre as a more family-friendly setting and had been working in a restaurant before being laid off three weeks ago. While he had been unemployed a relatively short time, he said with a family to take care of “it's been long enough.”
 
Kerri Gajeski had driven in from Thornhurst to apply, and landed a job as a fashion coordinator. “I guess I'm a stylish dresser,” she said with a laugh.
 
Gajeski said she had quit her job to spend some time at home with her two children when her son was born in March. “My husband and I agreed that he made enough money for us to do that,” she said. But lately he started nudging her back into the working world. “He said it was time, things are getting a little tight,” she chuckled.
 
The event ran until 7 p.m., and while positions were being filled quickly, English said it would be worthwhile to apply even if all the posts were filled. The company keeps the applications on file and and may hire from among them as positions open later.
 

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