Business partners Tasha Otte and Kristi Nixon have brought a new option to the Huntington area for those seeking employment. Express Employment Professionals, 2916 Walmart Drive, Huntington, officially opened for business on Monday, Nov. 29. A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on Thursday, Dec. 9, to celebrate and welcome them to Huntington.
Nixon first bought an Express territory in Tennessee in 2012.
Originally from Ohio, Otte moved to Tennessee nine years ago, where she met Nixon. The two became business partners and have been working together ever since.
“We are passionate about finding people jobs,” Nixon said.
Nixon—who moved to Fort Wayne four years ago for other business opportunities—decided she wanted to get back into the “day-to-day of Express.”
“Express is territorial, so you have a defined area that is yours and she (Nixon) was interested in Fort Wayne, but there was already somebody that owned that territory,” Otte said.
The pair then set their sights on the Huntington area because it “was similar to the area they have in Tennessee” as far as being “rural and spread out.” They went through the process and were approved for this territory in June of 2020 with a plan to open for business in fall of 2020.
Two weeks after their approval, Otte and Nixon found out that the Fort Wayne territory owner was ready to sell and they knew they wanted that territory as well. Since it was already open, they decided to put the Huntington territory “on standby” until they could get the Fort Wayne territory up and going.
They secured the Huntington office location in April of this year, but had setbacks when it came to builders and supplies. They were finally able to open the office on Monday, Nov. 29.
“We’re excited to be in Huntington. It really does remind us of what we’re used to in the market,” Otte said. “Everyone’s been so good to us already.”
Though often associated with temp agencies, Otte says that isn’t what Express is.
“We don’t say the word ‘temp.’ It doesn’t give anyone a good feeling. You feel like you’re not a part of the team,” Otte said. “We bring in candidates and we talk to them. We don’t just give them a pile of paperwork.”
Otte went on to say that they get a candidate’s work history and then they ask, “What can we find you that’s going to make you want to go to work everyday?”
After interviewing a candidate, they call companies looking for employees and see if the candidate would be a good fit.
“We want to try to find them the best fit. Yes, we work with some larger companies, but the bulk of our business is small business,” Otte said. “We’re a small business, so we work with companies who maybe didn’t know staffing was an option for them. Sometimes people have the stereotype that staffing is just for factories and it’s not. We bring in all types of skill sets.”
Since it is a franchise, Otte and Nixon are able to have some say on how their business is run.
“We can build our business on what we believe in. Not all Express offices will run the same as we do,” Otte said.
For example, Otte and Nixon offer their candidates holiday pay, vacation pay and insurance through Express. Other Express offices don’t offer these benefits.
Otte says there has been some fluctuation the “wants and needs” of applicants due to COVID-19.
“The applicant flow isn’t as strong as it was two to four years ago, but the folks that are coming back into the workforce are looking for something different,” Otte said. “They don’t want to work a lot of overtime… they’re worried about their lifestyle. They’ve been through this scare of COVID-19. They want to make sure they have enough time with their families and they want to be able to go out and enjoy life.”
“We’ve seen a big uptick in folks that want to work part time,” Otte continued. “They want to be able to work during the day and still be able to go to everything that their kids want to do or they want to do what they love.”
Otte says that they can see the impact Express has made for people everyday.
For example, during a Thanksgiving activity at school, Nixon’s 9-year-old daughter Grace said she was thankful for Express because it made her mom happy and helped pay the bills because life was a struggle before.
After Grace spoke, another girl piped up and said, “I’m thankful for Express.”
When Grace asked why, the little girl said, “Express gave my mom a job.”
Victoria Vanover, of Express, said that they were working with a man in Fort Wayne who wasn’t able to read or write very well. After speaking with the man, Vanover could tell he was a hard worker and she assisted him with his paperwork.
“We got him a really good job that normally people wouldn’t even get just simply because they (an employer) wouldn’t take a second look,” Vanover said.
“They knew he could do it, so they fought that much harder for him because no one else would’ve cared,” Otte said. “We don’t want them (employers) to judge by their work history or resume.”
“That’s kind of what we’re here for is to be that middle ground that can help be the voice for them,” Vanover said.
Individuals may contact the Express office by calling 225-3910, through their website at expresspros.com/marionhuntingtonin or on Facebook. Individuals may also stop by during business hours, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.