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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing many businesses to lay off workers or shut down altogether, it’s just the opposite at Memphis’ own AutoZone.

The automotive parts and accessories retailer is looking to hire 100 employees in the greater Memphis area, and in a first ever, AutoZone will host a drive-up hiring event at their Winchester store in Hickory Hill.

“We are interviewing for retail sales and delivery drivers, part-time and full-time,” AutoZone Talent Acquisition Manager Nikki Walker said.

“We’re an essential employer,” said Jil Greene, director of AutoZone field HR. “People need to work on their cars. People are working on their cars at home, so more and more people are working here at AutoZone.”

Not only were potential hires allowed to apply from within their cars or trucks, but walk-up applicants also got the chance to apply for part-time and full-time positions.

“We started this morning at 9:00,” Greene said. “We already had 20 people here before 9 a.m. and had already offered 15 people positions.”

The focus is on safety and social distancing. Masks are required for AutoZone staff and for candidates.

“They’re very cautious,” Melvin Copeland said. “As you can see, they’re doing the social distancing so nobody can get sick or anything, so they’re very aware of everything.”

Copeland said he hoped to land a job in sales or even management but has, like many, found himself without work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it turned out to be Copeland’s lucky day. It didn’t take long for the unemployed Memphian to get the thumbs-up and a new job just when he needed it more than ever.        

“Right now, it’s very important,” he said. “The job I recently had, I was laid off in May, so I’ve been looking. When I say this is right on time, this is right on time for me.”

Memphians will have another chance to apply for jobs with AutoZone next Tuesday at the AutoZone at 4394 Summer Avenue. That event goes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.