- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2002

Job seekers have been lining up at the new Home Depot in Northeast for a chance to work for the country's largest home improvement chain.
The new 15,000-square-foot store has had more than 1,000 applicants all seeking one of 160 positions available. The store, which opened earlier this month, has hired 120 employees and plans to add at least 40 others in the next few weeks, says John Simley, a Home Depot spokesman.
A new store typically receives several hundred applications, Mr. Simley says.
Applicants go through an hourlong process at a kiosk located inside the store. The procedure includes a 15-minute introduction about the company, after which the applicants must answer questions about everything from work experience and expertise to honesty.
The company also tests all applicants for illegal drug use something that has "been an issue" among applicants, Mr. Simley says.
A large sign at the entrance of the store simply states: " If you use drugs don't bother to apply."
Mr. Simley wouldn't disclose how many applications have been rejected because of drug use but says, "It's a little worse than what we've encountered in other stores."
This is the first Home Depot located inside the District, and officials expect the store to be bustling with customers.
"Demand is very high," Mr. Simley said.
The store is located across from construction for a new 53,200-square-foot Giant food store, scheduled to open in November or December.
Construction on a nearby Kmart is on hold as the bankrupt retailer figures out its future plans. But the absence of Kmart isn't likely to hurt Home Depot or Giant.
"Kmart needs us more than we need them," Mr. Simley says. "We wish they would join us, but that's up to a bankruptcy judge."

New hotel and lots of bourbon
The Washington Terrace Hotel is being given finishing touches before it officially opens doors on July 1.
The 220-room hotel, located at 1515 Rhode Island Ave. NW, is taking the place of the Doubletree Park Terrace Hotel. The property has been closed since November and has undergone renovations from new guest rooms and bathrooms to high-tech amenities that have cost $13 million.
Between 70 percent and 80 percent of the old structure was demolished to make room for the new "contemporary and vibrant" hotel, says General Manager Peter Carroll.
The hotel also has added a bourbon twist to its restaurant called 15 ria, an abbreviated version of the hotel's address. The watering hole, scheduled to open around July 15, will offer 25 high-end bourbons and a menu of trendy cocktails as well as American cuisine.
The hotel will have between 150 and 170 employees, and the restaurant will employ about 80 people.

In other hotel news
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza Washington, D.C., formerly the Crowne Plaza Washington D.C. Hotel, has undergone a $6 million renovation in addition to its name change. The 80-year-old, 11-story building, with 318 guest rooms, began its makeover floor-by-floor in December and was finished last month. The hotel is located at 14th and K streets NW.
Wyndham International Inc. is giving its guests free local and long-distance phone calls, free high-speed Internet access, and free copying and faxing. The offer is extended to current and new members of Wyndham ByRequest, a rewards program with more than 320,000 members.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or [email protected] Retail & Hospitality appears every other Monday.



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