OXFORD — Almost 200 people turned out last week to apply for 40 positions at the new Ocean State Job Lot on Route 26.

“We thought it was a great turnout,” said Donna McLeod, director of recruitment and training, on Monday.

McLeod, who spent several days in the Oxford store, said 84 people turned out in the first hour to apply for jobs that were advertised in the Sun Journal and through a recruitment agency. A total of 186 applicants came through the door during the week-long recruitment period.

The number of applicants was significantly down from the more than 500 people who applied for 17 jobs at the Tractor Supply Co. store on Route 26 in February.

McLeod, who is based at the corporate headquarters in Rhode Island, said most of the applicants were local, and many were people who had lost their jobs at the manufactured home businesses in Oxford Hills that have shut down over the last few years.

McLeod said they were looking for a variety of positions ranging from sale associates to supervisors and management. Two people from Mechanic Falls were hired.

“Everyone was delightful,” she said of the group of applicants who came in to interview.

Orientation for the new hires begins this week, she said.

McLeod indicated there may still be more openings at the store.

“At this point we have completed our hiring, but that’s not to say we won’t continue to hire,” she said.

The Rhode Island-based chain is leasing the Oxford site at 1570 Main St. from Bob Bahre. It has been empty for seven years since Ames Department Stores closed all its stores in 2002 after the company declared bankruptcy.

Although an opening date has not been confirmed, McLeod said the store is tentatively due to open in August.

The Oxford site has 48,000 square-feet of space, 36,000 of which will hold the Ocean State Job Lot. A 12,000 square-foot portion of the building is leased to the Dollar Tree. The Job Lot’s new space has remained vacant except for the occasional use by the Coat Room, which allows people to donate their used coats to the needy.

The Ocean State Job Lot chain also has stores in Bangor and Belfast — a third is planned to open in Sanford later this year. According to the company Web site, it sells brand name, first-quality products at close-out prices, and has about 80 stores throughout New England.

Bahre has said there is a possibility he may lease land to the company for another store in Jay in the future.

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