About 400 people braved the rain and storm warnings this morning, hoping for one of the 100 jobs being offered at what was once Bill Heard Chevrolet.
About 9:30 a.m., Emanuel Jones, the potential new owner of the dealership, stood in front of the showroom and tried to bring order to the lengthy line of people seeking jobs.
A security guard had asked former Heard employees to come to the front of the line. That created some confusion, but Jones quickly stepped in.
“We’re looking to build a new store,” Jones said. “Former employees may be at a disadvantage. We’re looking for new talent, new people.”
He has plenty of options. The Georgia Department of Labor, which is helping with the job fair, expects more than 1,000 people to come through the Manchester Expressway store before the fair ends at 5 p.m.
The dealership is hiring employees on the spot and hopes to have them ready to start work Dec. 19, when Jones plans to reopen the dealership.
Many of the people in line are like Lisa Burns, a 30-year-old unemployed mortgage banker. She lost her job in August when GreenPoint Mortgage closed its Columbus operation. Her unemployment benefits ran out month ago.
“I’ve never been without a job,” said the 2001 Albany State University graduate. “It’s really hard day-to-day.”
She was encouraged by Jones’ statement that he was looking for fresh faces.
“That’s a plus for me,” she said. “Hearing him say that made me want to stay in this line.”
Jones, a state senator from metro Atlanta, has been approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court to buy the closed Heard dealership. The $25 million deal should be finalized Dec. 19, the same day Jones plans to reopen the store that has been closed since late September.