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Kohl's opens in Casper for busy day

Kohl's opens in Casper for busy day

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kohl's opens in Casper for busy day
A report by Wyoming PBS News partner, Wyoming Business Report

By Wyoma Groenenberg

CASPER - It looked like Black Friday with a flurry of shoppers, as the Kohl's Department Store opened in Casper today. This store was among 30 that conducted grand openings today in 20 states, supplying about 4,000 jobs. Wyoming has one other store, located in Cheyenne.

Mark Fleer, Kohl's district manager for northern Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota, said he's never heard "so much buzz" or seen so much excitement about a Kohl's opening as he's experienced in Casper. This was the seventh store he's opened in his region.

"I've been coming here for the last three months, and it's been a great opportunity and great experience," said Fleer, who used to live in Casper and commented on how much the city has grown.

While there were only about 25 people in line at the 7 a.m. opening, the store was quite busy by mid-morning with many cars in the parking lot.
The store presently employs 130 hourly associates, with a store manager and two assistant managers.

The first day was good practice for the holidays for employees, some of whom have no previous retail experience, Fleer explained. "It has been eye opening for some of them," he said.

Between 20 and 30 extra employees will be hired temporarily during the holidays, Fleer said.

"This store is a small footprint (compared to the usual stores) and is a prototype of smaller stores (with 55,000 square feet)," the manager explained. "If this format is successful," Kohl's may build in smaller markets, Fleer noted.

Kohl's is involved in philanthropic activities called Kohl's Cares, which ranges from the community to environmental commitments. Fleer pointed out Cares for Kids, which offers $5 items from which the revenue is donated to a local hospital that has partnered with Kohl's for child education, health insurance and in other areas.

The associates are encouraged to volunteer to help nonprofit organizations. Since its inception 12 years ago, Kohl's has given 1.3 million volunteer hours and $38 million in donations to organizations from its stores nationwide.

Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl's operates 1,127 stores located in 49 states.

Wyoming Business Report