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Business and economy news and issues in the Ozarks.

Price Cutter to Move Into Two Former Dillons Stores, Add Jobs

Scott Harvey

Two former Springfield Dillons’ locations will soon be home to Price Cutter, whose parent company is now advertising for positions on its website.

Pyramid Foods, which owns Price Cutter stores, entered into an agreement to acquire all four Dillon’s locations in the city last year. More than 400 employees were impacted when the stores closed just before Christmas.

Now, former Dillons employees and others can seek jobs at 1260 East St. Louis Street and at 1831 West Kearney Street. The stores will replace current Price Cutter stores along West Commercial Street and South Campbell Avenue, marking an upgrade in store size. Employees of these two Price Cutter stores will be relocated to the newly renovated stores or to another Springfield Price Cutter location, but the company says additional jobs will be available.

In a news release issued Tuesday afternoon, Price Cutter says its decision to convert the two former Dillons sites came following weeks of market research. Additionally, Wednesday will mark the grand opening of Price Cutter Express fuel center at the corner of St. Louis and National.

53-year-old Tina Ehrenfield was employed by Dillons for 19 years, holding several positions including cashier and general merchandise manager. It’s a place she and others thought they’d be at “until we retired”. Since the layoffs, Ehrenfield said she’s had several interviews, but is still having trouble landing a job.

“They’re frustrated. Everybody has bills to pay…I’m 53 years old that’s one strike against me as it is. I’m not holding that against the people that didn’t hire me, but I go in for a job interview and I know what’s going through their heads like we want younger people which is fine but I can’t get the experience if they won’t give me a chance to get it,” Ehrenfield said.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Jan. 21 will mark the grand opening of Price Cutter Express fuel center at the corner of St. Louis and National. Price Cutter began placing signage on the former Dillons gas station two weeks ago.

Ehrenfield said Dillons did not offer a severance package for its employees and she’s been relying on her vacation pay until she’s eligible for unemployment.

MSU economics professor David Mitchell told KSMU last week that citizens currently looking for work are doing so in an improved economy, but one that “still has a long way to go.”  He says the decline in competition can have a damaging effect on the economy. 

“Whenever firms have more market share they have more control over prices so having lots of firms in the areas gives us lots of competition and therefore lower prices for consumers," Mitchell said.   

Price Cutter says both remodeled stores will be full service supermarkets with high quality products while offering a large selection, plus feature Starbucks locations in each store.

Positions listed online at the new Price Cutter store locations range from assistant store director to cashier to Starbucks associate. Both the East St. Louis and West Kearney Street locations are expected to be open within the next 30 days, according to the news release.

Erick Taylor, President and CEO of Price Cutter, said “We appreciate our customers who have continued to shop at Price Cutter throughout the numerous changes in the market over the past years. It is because of our customers and hardworking employees we are able to continue to grow and provide better shopping experiences. By moving into larger locations, we are able to enhance our departments and offer more variety and services. With the growth of the company, we are able to negotiate better pricing for all our locations.”

When renovations are completed at the former Dillions on West Kearney, 54,000 square feet, it will replace the 20,000 square foot Price Cutter store at 712 West Commercial Street. The location at 1260 East St. Louis Street, 56,000 square feet, will replace the 40,000 square foot Price Cutter store at 1730 South Campbell Avenue.

“As our company grows, so do the job opportunities for area residents,” Taylor said. “The majority of our products are provided by local companies such as Hiland Dairy, Associated Wholesale Grocers and local vendors. With the growth of our employee owned company also fuels the growth for our community, creating jobs in the Springfield market. “

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