HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A job fair was held by Opportunity Inc. on April 18 for those in the area that lost their jobs when Farm Fresh and Toys "R" Us closed their doors.
The ConnectUP 2018 Job Fair is in partnership with the Virginia Employment Commission was hosted at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
“I’ve been with Farm Fresh for 12 years,” Thomas Lathon said.
With the announcement of Farm Fresh closing down, 3,000 people were suddenly facing an uncertain future.
“It’s definitely impacting the family, but we are working through it,” Lathon said.
At 32 with a fiancée and child, Lathon says he never thought he would be in this situation: with a new resume looking for a new job.
He says he’s spend a third of his life at Farm Fresh, after landing his first job when he turned 20.
“I thought I was going to retire with Farm Fresh. They had a great retirement plan, but now I have to start over,” Lathon said.
With major layoffs like Farm Fresh and Toys "R" Us hitting the community hard, One-Stop President and CEO Shawn Avery says people started showing up at 11 a.m. for the 2 p.m. event.
“140 vendors were here today. We actually had to turn a few away that wanted to come just because of the space. So it’s been a great opportunity for the community to come out and support those impacted by the Farm Fresh closures, Toys "R" Us and it was open to the public ,” Avery said.
With more than 140 vendors looking for new employees from local law enforcement, fast food, IT and even local grocery stores, Thomas says he’s excited for new opportunities.
“I am just hoping I can find something new here today so I won’t have to start completely over,” Lathon said.
If you weren’t able to make it out to the job fair today, you can find more information about possible employers here.