Feb. 27, 2012
NEEDHAM, Mass. — They were young, they were not so young. Some had experience. Others didn’t. But they were all at Volante Farms for the same thing: A job. At times, the line at Volante Farms stretched out the door on Feb. 18 as hundreds came to apply for some coveted new jobs. The 50-year-old Needham farm stand is about to reopen after undergoing an extensive expansion.
Owner Dave Volante says he’s not sure how many people he’ll hire, but he has plenty of slots to fill. "I think at lunch time there’ll be 10 to 12 people in the deli area," he says. "Busy times in the ice cream [area], I can see four to five people serving ice cream in there."
Longtime Volante shopper Mary McLaughlin is hoping there’s something for her. She had a 15-year career in high tech until she was squeezed out two years ago.
"I lost all my 401(k). I lost my savings. I lost my car. I lost my apartment," she says.
She says she’s working full-time right now, but it’s not the job she wants. "People like me, 50-something — I’m 54 — have less opportunities," she says. She knows a lot of people in their 30s through 50s who have been hard hit economically.
Fellow job seeker Kathy Mason says she’s one of them. She’s been looking for a customer service job for eight months. "It’s unfortunate the way the economy is going. Sounds like it might be on the upswing so that’s a positive note," she says.
Unemployment rates have been steadily declining throughout the country and Massachusetts has one of lowest rates at 6.8 percent. Some of the people we spoke to say it’s small businesses like Volante Farms that will keep that number going down.
As for Dave Volante, he’ll spend the next few weeks sifting through the hundreds of applications and filling positions before the grand reopening. "March 31is what we're targeting for the opening date," he says. "Knock on wood — things look good right now."
For those standing in line clutching their resumes, the countdown has already begun.