Online shopping, a years-long trend in retailing that has only been boosted by the stay-at-home mandates of the coronavirus pandemic, is proving to be a boon for at least one local company.
While traditional brick-and-mortar stores have taken a hit from the virus, the massive ShopHQ warehouse and call center on Nashville Road is thriving.
So much so that the Minnesota-based shop-at-home television network and online retailer has scheduled two outdoor job fairs for its Bowling Green location, aiming to fill 60 full-time and 20 part-time positions.
The first of the “drive-through” job fairs is scheduled Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the ShopHQ parking lot at 4811 Nashville Rd. The second will be held Wednesday, July 1, from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Goodwill Center for Education and Employment at 1806 U.S. 31-W By-Pass.
“We’re growing and expanding,” explained Esther Adams, a recruiting consultant for ShopHQ. “With COVID-19 impacting the economy in a big way, our business has greatly increased.”
Jon Sanders, the ShopHQ vice president of fulfillment who runs the 600,000-square-foot Bowling Green location, said the increase in business for ShopHQ is a recent trend after an initial slump when the pandemic started.
“We did have a downturn in February and March,” Sanders said. “I think there was a lot of fear then, and it was before the economic stimulus. Around mid-April things started picking up in online ordering.”
To keep pace with the increased business, Sanders said ShopHQ needs to fill positions – some earning as much as $17 per hour – in its 165-seat call center.
“These positions will be taking inbound calls only,” Sanders said. “They will be helping customers get a problem fixed or place an order.”
The call center operates 24 hours a day, and Sanders said most of the jobs to be filled will be for evening shifts.
In order to fill those positions while still observing social distancing guidelines, Sanders said the company is trying the “drive-through” concept.
“We’re trying to prevent having people gathered inside,” he said. “They can pick up an application and fill it out in their car. We’ll do interviews there, and job offers will happen shortly after the job fair.”
Sanders said filling all 80 positions will bring ShopHQ’s local employment to more than 400.
“I’m hoping we can fill all the positions,” he said. “Maybe some people who’ve lost jobs in other industries can get hired.”
Thanks to a 2015 expansion that boosted the call center and fulfillment warehouse to its current size of approximately eight acres under roof, the company has room to add employees.
Sanders explained that ShopHQ – the third-largest shop-at-home retailer behind Home Shopping Network and QVC – has been in Bowling Green since 1999 but has undergone a number of ownership and name changes.
Founded as ValueVision in 1990, the company became ShopNBC in 2000 when the NBC television network purchased a share of the company. It was Evine Live for a brief period before becoming ShopHQ last year.
The company now sells its products through channels on the Dish and DirecTV networks as well as on cable systems and through the shophq.com website.