KNOXVILLE – For job security, even during an economic downturn, Steven Jones suggests people consider the grocery industry.
Jones, who worked at Food City stores in Sevier County, was recently named one of the grocery chain’s district managers.
“Food City has taken care of us very well through the good and bad economies,” Jones said. “It’s good and stable. It’s still there. It cannot be turned off by the vagaries of the economy.
Jones began his grocery career in 1999 as a courtesy clerk at another supermarket chain.
“Courtesy employees will be doing groceries, pulling carts out of the parking lot, doing minor cleaning,” Jones said.
He did not accept the position with the intention of remaining in the grocery industry.
“I think like most teenagers I probably wasn’t thinking as deeply as you should,” he said.
Jones went on to hold positions such as cashier, perishables storekeeper, deputy product manager and product manager.
He joined Food City in 2005 as an Assistant Store Manager in the Halls Community of Knox County.
“When I changed to Food City, I knew this was where I needed to be,” Jones said. “He is a true community partner. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
“I have enjoyed watching Steven grow as a leader in our business over the years as he has taken on different challenges and excelled at them,” said Steven Smith, President and CEO of Food City. “Our business only succeeds when our people are successful, and we are very happy that Steven runs Food City District 8. “
His career has taken him to Food City stores such as the Bearden community of Knoxville, as well as stores in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge.
When asked if a willingness to move to different markets is needed to move forward, Jones said it hasn’t been his experience.
“In the grocery business, I can only speak for Food City,” he said. “They don’t necessarily require anyone to move. This is not a prerequisite for being promoted, but it is certainly an option for anyone who wants to relocate.
The grocery store veteran with 22 years of experience understands the everyday details that make every location different.
Jones worked at Sevierville’s Food City on Dolly Parton Parkway and then ran the original Pigeon Forge store on Parkway. He opened and managed the new Pigeon Forge Food City on Teaster Lane.
“The ebb and flow of business is considerably greater than in Knoxville or other places,” he said of Sevier County stores which see a high volume of tourist traffic. “We would be extremely busy in the summer. “
Jones said the stores he worked at in Sevier County need to replenish items such as charcoal, picnic supplies, travel toiletries and sunscreen more frequently than stores that cater primarily to permanent residents.
His territory as a District Manager will include Food City locations in counties such as Knox, Anderson, Cumberland, Putnam and Rhea. The county of Sevier is not part of its territory.
“Thank you for the hospitality Sevier County has shown me,” Jones said. “I was a member of the Pigeon Forge Hotel and Tourism Association. I was proud to be a member of this organization.
Jones encourages people to seriously consider a career in the grocery industry, noting that there are jobs available that many don’t necessarily relate to the company.
“People of different personalities can do well,” he said. “There are opportunities in accounting, project management, transport. It’s all part of how stores operate. Many of the people in these positions started out in stores.
Food City hosted in-person recruiting events at its approximately 135 stores in five states on Wednesday.
Food City spokesperson Tammy Baumgardner said those who missed job fairs can still apply at their local store kiosk or online.
A search on Wednesday of Food City openings in Sevier County showed 192 jobs available, with positions ranging from courtesy clerk and personal shopper to sushi chef.