“I will never underestimate any job I have again,” shares Catawba College senior Chase Loudin of Salisbury. This assertion after Loudin parlayed what had been his three and a half year part-time job into an awesome paid summer internship at Staples’ corporate headquarters that now offers a potential of full time employment.
Loudin spent 12 weeks this summer in Framingham, Massachusetts, working as an intern in Staples’ Retail Experience Department focusing on enhancing retail sales and customer retention. Staples, long known as a chain store retailer for office supplies and equipment, has in recent years become the 5th largest e-commerce site in the U.S.
He says he started out working at the Salisbury Staples retail store during his senior year of high school. He notes that at that time, the job was “simply a way to earn money to take a pretty girl out on dates on the weekends.”
His original plan was to get a few years of customer service experience inside Staples and leverage it somewhere else. Then, while a student at Catawba, majoring in Business Administration with a dual concentration in economics and marketing, it occurred to him “that I had learned a lot about this company during my years there and perhaps there was more that it had to offer me.”
Thanks to an associates’ hub available in the Staples store where he worked, Loudin learned that the corporate headquarters offered summer internship opportunities. He applied, and was one of 60 collegiate interns from across the country who were offered internships in Framingham. Of the 60 interns, he was only one of a handful who had actually worked inside a Staples retail store.
Loudin shares that his summer internship “gave me more insight into how the company functions and how the projects we developed would relay into the stores.”
He says he values the 20 or so one-on-one interviews with directors and managers around the entire corporate office that he was able to conduct during the course of the internship. “Some of these were set-up intentionally as part of the internship process to help the interns better understand career options and paths,” he explains. Other one-on-ones were to help the interns gain insights into various projects. Then there were one-on-one meetings that Loudin took the initiative to set up.
Laughing, he recalls his participation in the Amazing Race for Interns. One of the tasks set before his Race team members was to assemble an office chair. Because Loudin had had so much experience doing that in the Salisbury, N.C., Staples store, he cautioned his team members to step back and let him shoulder this task for them all. The end result was that Loudin assembled that office chair rapidly, allowing his team to pass through this portion of the race quicker than any other team competing.
Back working in his part-time job at the Staples retail store in Salisbury as he completes his last year of school, Loudin says he definitely better understands why corporate makes decisions for the stores to implement.
“Every customer interaction and every sale that’s made is even more important to me now after my summer internship experience. It’s not just a part-time job for date money anymore, it’s a potential career.”