The excitement has been building for months, if not years, and last night all those who have been awaiting the arrival of Nordstrom came together at Lago to hear the latest news about the American retailer’s plans for their new Rideau Centre store.
Whatever you think about shopping (or U.S. companies entering the Canadian market) one thing is certain: Nordstrom will bring 400 jobs to the city.Jim Watson shares a laugh with attendees at the Nordstrom event on Nov. 19. Photo by Valerie Keeler, Valberg Imaging
And another thing I can say with confidence: Nordstrom takes their hiring seriously. This past April, they reached out to us to let us know they had hired a store manager for their Ottawa store. That means they hired Ottawa store manager John Banks over a year before the store even opened! Now, I’m not too knowledgeable about the department store retail industry, but I have had plenty of department store experiences, and most of my interactions with staff involve hunting down a salesperson and/or being told that they can’t answer my questions. So they caught my attention with this small, but significant, announcement.
Then, when Nordstrom PR guy John Bailey asked us out for lunch last summer, I had to check my calendar again. Really, you want to sit down and talk to us a full 10 months before you’re opening doors?
We lunched, and they charmed us more. They told us of their No. 1 Rule when it comes to employee guidelines: Use Good Judgement In All Situations. It sounds pretty basic to someone like me who is supported by a publisher who lets me make decisions on my own all the time, but I have been in different situations and I know all about overly controlling bosses and rules-for-the-sake-of-rules.
We also heard that John Banks took an extensive French immersion program as part of his training. Bravo!
In short, if I was in retail I would apply to Nordstrom. Check out the positions here. Hiring begins in January.
Nordstrom is looking to fill sales positions in all areas of operations including women’s, men’s, and children’s apparel, shoes, accessories, cosmetics, designer, as well as various support positions in alterations, building services, and loss prevention.
In fact, we know someone who has been hired as a one of 28 department managers. Last month, they headed to Seattle for an eight-week, manager training program. Working with “mentor managers,” they learn about Nordstrom firsthand by working in a store.
Additional positions are also available in the store’s cafe and restaurant — and we heard last night that the Calgary Nordstrom is seeing 1-hour wait times, so I’m guessing this isn’t your average department store diner.Nordstrom Canada president Karen McKibbon. Photo by Valerie Keeler, Valberg Imaging
From the press release:
“We’re looking for goal-oriented people who love fashion and want to deliver an exceptional shopping experience to every customer who visits our store – they don’t necessarily need retail experience,” said store manager John Banks. “Nordstrom is a great place to build a career. With this being only our second store in Canada, it’s a great time to get in on the ground floor with our company as we begin our growth across the nation.”
Nordstrom employees will receive a competitive benefits package, which includes dental, medical and vision options, a RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) matching program and a 20% retail discount (managers receive a 33% discount).
If you’re not looking for a job but want to get in on all the Nordstrom excitement, then you’ll want to know about the fundraising gala on March 4. That’s another story about how this company is looking to make a great first impression in Ottawa by helping the United Way and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. We have a few months to get ready for that party and talk up all the good things that will come from the fundraiser — but tickets are on sale now, and the fundraiser for their Calgary store sold out.
Me, I like shopping when it’s in the right environment. And Nordstrom, with it’s attention to hiring, charitable initiatives, and overall organization, is certainly setting the stage (and raising the bar) for shopping in Ottawa.