Home Depot wants to beef up its orange-apron army.
The Atlanta-based home improvement chain plans to hire 640 Southwest Florida seasonal workers — 540 at its Fort Myers-area stores and 100 at its Naples stores, spokeswoman Katherine Ellison said.
Nationally, the company is looking to hire some 80,000 part-time workers.
Home Depot began hiring seasonal employees a couple of weeks ago, similar to how retailers boost their ranks during the holiday season, she said.
"For us, that big season is spring time," Ellison said.
About half of all seasonal positions transition into permanent jobs, she said, and Home Depot plans to hire through June. Anyone who wants to apply should visit www.careers.homedepot.com to fill out an application. New on the site this year is a tool allowing former military members to find what job fits them best.
Ellison acknowledged that northern stores especially seek workers in the spring because more customers visit to buy products for planting and cleaning products.
But spring is also the busiest season in Southwest Florida, said Lenny Gabourel, manager of the Pine Ridge Road store in Naples.
"The foot traffic with the people from up north, it really picks up. People redo their yards, put down sod, plant citirus trees," he said.
Ellison said she couldn't say how much the part-time positions pay because they vary depending on experience and the job itself. And she dispelled some beliefs that applicants need home building experience to qualify for a job.
"Our main qualification is a passion for customer service," Ellison said.
Gabourel agreed, saying employees also need "a good spirit and willingness to learn."
And, of course, all new associates will receive something they must wear.
"When I first came to Home Depot, it was all about the orange apron," Gabourel said. "I was told 'be proud to wear that.'"