It’s more than a job fair.

As Orchard Supply Hardware prepares to open two new Portland-area locations, the corporation seeks to fill an estimated 160 positions total during a two-day hiring event. Rather than simply exchanging information with the company, each participating applicant who attends will get an interview, said company spokesperson Jeff Segvich.

Orchard Supply seeks department leads, customer service associates, cashiers and bicycle repair experts. Between 40 and 50 of these positions are full-time, Segvich said, with both part- and full time employees eligible for some form of benefits package.

The publicly traded company was founded in 1931 at the height of the Depression in San Jose, Calif., and has 89 locations throughout its home state. Its new locations in Tigard and Portland would mark the beginning of the chain’s presence in Oregon.

The 40,000-square-foot Tigard location is in the former Ultimate Electronics site near Southwest Scholls Ferry Road. The building has sat empty since 2011, when its parent company finalized bankruptcy procedures. The store had only been open for four months.

Orchard Supply Hardware plans to open another location in Cedar Mill. Both grand openings are scheduled for April of this year.

The store began as a co-op more than 80 years ago, allowing about 30 Bay Area farmers to pitch in $30 to build up a shared tool library. The co-op became a store 20 years later, as residential development claimed much of the business’ namesake orchards, and in 1996 was acquired by Sears. In early 2012, the Sears Holding Corp. spun off Orchard Supply, effectively making it an independent company traded under the OSH acronym.

Although OSH counts big box home improvement stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot among its competition, it has tried to fashion itself a more homespun brand — “a big, small box store,” as regional manager for Oregon Joe Kelley told the Times-Tigard in November. The store’s inventory includes a wider selection of tools and home repair supplies, but does not carry lumber.

As OSH wagers that its business model will appeal to Oregon’s famed do-it-yourself culture, the chain seeks to fill all open Washington County positions within a two-day period, according to Segvich — that is, during its two-day hiring event next week at the Oregon Zoo.

Applicants are encouraged to attend either day. With resume in hand and the understanding that the process may take up to four hours, job-seekers can expect not only an interview but also an answer from the store the same day.

According to Segvich, this particular approach to hiring has proven successful at many OSH locations in California.

Kelley emphasized the company’s focus on providing “a fun and engaging customer experience,” adding that a background in retail is preferred but not required for potential hires.

The Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corp. hiring event will be held Tuesday, Jan. 29 and Wednesday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oregon Zoo’s Cascade Crest Banquet Center, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road. Applicants are invited to apply and pre-register at

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