While it’s legal in nearly every state to work at age 15, many companies make it a policy not to hire employees until they are at least 16 years old. Some may even set 17 or 18 years old as their minimum age requirements.
The good news is that if you are a 15-year-old (or the parent of one) who would like to get a job, there are more options out there than you might think.
Starting to generate an income at a young age could really pay off later on. High school students generally have very minimal expenses. So they have the opportunity to put a lot of their earnings away towards college or a down payment on a first home.
Retail Stores That Hire Teens
Below is a list of 12 retail stores that hire at 15, ordered by their number of locations throughout the United States.
Whether you’re just looking to earn some spending money or you want to graduate college debt free, one of these stores could help you start making money early and often!
Founded in 1883, Kroger is one of the oldest retailers in the U.S. It’s also one of the largest.
Krogers ranks as the largest supermarket chain and the 2nd-largest overall retailer in the United States.
Kroger has been known to hire 15-year-olds. And the good news is that with over 2,600 stores, there’s a good chance you may have a Kroger nearby. But as with all the retailers on this list, hiring policies will vary by location.
If your location does hire at 15, you could expect to be assigned as a cashier, bagger, grocery clerk, produce clerk, meat clerk, deli clerk or bakery clerk.
Publix is a popular supermarket chain in the southeast. Known for their customer service, they consistently rank near the top among supermarkets for consumer satisfaction.
Depending on location, Publix has been known to hire at 15 (actually 14). According to their hiring policy, they restrict 14 and 15-year-olds to working as cashiers, floral clerks or baggers.
Another great thing about Publix is their reputation for taking great care of their employees. Their generous benefits packages, employee stock options, and their habit of hiring managers from within could make Publix a legitimate career option for young workers as well. And if you decide to continue working during college, Publix does offer tuition reimbursement.
If you are a 15-year-old who has a Publix nearby, it should probably be near the top of your list of job choices. And with over 1,200 stores, if you live anywhere in the southeast, you probably have one near you.
Coming in at #3 on our list is Safeway, a popular grocery store chain which operates nearly 900 stores scattered throughout 18 states.
Like Publix, Safeway has been known to hire starting at 14 for positions like clerks, cashiers and baggers. Visit Safeway’s hiring page to check your location’s minimum age policy and apply for a job. If your local Safeway does hire at 15, you’ll be happy to know that even part-time employees may be eligible for benefits packages.
Like Publix, Winn-Dixie operates primarily in the southeast and includes nearly 500 stores. All 14 and 15-year-olds start as baggers (they call them “Courtesy Clerks”) at Winn-Dixie.
If Winn-Dixie hires you, you’ll probably like the fact that they offer 5% employee discounts and free lunches at their deli to help you save money on food expenses.
6. Stop and Shop
A supermarket chain located mostly in the northeast, Stop and Shop currently has nearly 250 stores. They have been known to hire at 15 for lower-level positions.
Throughout its history, Stop and Shop employees have had a vocal union with members that aren’t afraid to strike to preserve benefits and competitive pay. Workers can get 5% discounts on the food they buy at the store, and they offer part-time employees week-long vacations after a year of work.
Hy-Vee is a Midwestern supermarket chain that has over 240 stores. Its stores are “full-service,” fitted with pharmacies, floral departments and food service. Some locations even have health clinics, coffee shops, fitness centers and gas stations.
Hy-Vee stores are community hubs. They sound like they would be a fun place to work as a teenager. Thankfully, Hy-Vee has been known to hire at 15 for some of its entry-level positions like cashier, bagger and stocker.
Plus, to help their young employees reach their educational goals, Hy-Vee offers financial assistance through their Hy-Vee Foundation Scholarship Program.
4. Giant Eagle
If you live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana or Maryland, then you’re probably familiar with the Giant Eagle supermarket chain. Giant Eagle has around 215 stores, and they are known for hiring 15-year-olds.
If a Giant Eagle store hires you at 15, expect to be placed as a bagger, cashier or parking lot attendant. One interesting thing about Giant Eagle is the emphasis that they put on employee health and wellness.
Here are some of the health benefits that they offer their employees:
- Biometric Health Screenings
- Free Preventative Care
- Free Flu Shots and Pneumonia Vaccinations
- Gym Perks
- Nutrition Counseling and Wellness Coaching
- Physical Activity and Weight-Loss Challenges
Giant Eagles seems to be a company that genuinely cares about their employees. It sounds like it would a pleasant and supportive place to work at for your first job.
8. Giant Food
Combined with its sister brand “Martin’s,” Giant Food operates around 200 grocery stores in the northeast. Depending on location, they may hire at 15 years old, and some may even hire at 14.
If becoming a Giant Food employee interests you, check out their careers page to see what options they have near you and to apply.
9. King Soopers
Owned by Kroger, King Soopers has a big presence in the state of Colorado and a few stores in Wyoming as well.
Their popularity seems only to be growing as they recently announced expansion plans. The expansion means more jobs. And at a lot of King Soopers locations, it means more jobs for 15-year-olds.
King Soopers has been known to hire employees as young as 14 years old for bagger and cashier jobs. And according to their CEO Dennis Gibson, King Soopers is a place where an entry-level position could turn into a lifelong career.
He said, “King Soopers and City Market (are places) where you can come for a job and stay for a career. We are committed to creating great entry-level jobs and investing in our associates so they can reach their full potential.” You can apply for a King Soopers position at their jobs page.
With around 100 stores in the mid-Atlantic and northeast, Wegmans is a medium-sized regional chain that still has a small family-business vibe.
Employees love working for Wegmans. In fact, Wegmans just ranked #3 on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list. And according to their job page, they are the only company that has made the list for the last 22 consecutive years.
One of the reasons why they are so popular with employees is the benefits they offer to their young workers and part-time employees. Wegmans offers tuition reimbursement through their scholarship program that has awarded over $100 million worth of scholarships to over 35,000 young workers.
And if you start working at Wegmans at 15 and decide that you want to make a career there, they have lots of educational options that could help you move up in the company.
Job specific educational opportunities include:
- Culinary Management Trainee Program
- Management Trainee Program
- Culinary Extern Program
- Culinary Intern Program
If this list were ranked by best places to work instead of widespread availability, Wegmans would probably have been #1. If you do happen to live in a state where Wegmans has a presence, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to work at age 15.
Owned by the same parent company that owns the Winn-Dixie brand, Harveys Supermarkets are also known for hiring at 15 or younger. Many Harveys stores have a minimum age requirement of 14 years old.
Harveys has less than 100 stores scattered throughout the southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.
If you’re looking to find a job at a Harveys near you, you should check out their careers page.
12. Hershey’s Chocolate World
We decided to have a little fun with the last retail store on our list and include Hershey’s Chocolate World, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Yes, it’s only one location, so the odds aren’t high that you live nearby. But if you do, Hershey’s stores have been known to hire at 15 for retail service, bake shop attendants and food service attendants. And who doesn’t want to work around Hershey’s chocolate all day?
Technically, there are Hershey’s Chocolate World locations at Niagara Falls, Times Square and Las Vegas as well. It’s unclear, though, whether they follow the same hiring policies as the Pennsylvania location.
But if you do happen to live near one of these other locations, it can’t hurt to give them a call to ask!
How Many Hours Is a 15-Year-Old Legally Allowed to Work?
The U.S. Department of Labor has specific guidelines in place for teenagers who work at age 14 or 15.
Employees under age 16 can only work:
- 3 hours on a school day
- 18 hours in a school week
- 8 hours on a non-school day
- 40 hours in a non-school week
- Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., except from June 1 through Labor Day, when nighttime work hours are extended to 9 p.m.
While all states are free to set child labor laws that are more strict than the rules above, they are not allowed to exceed these national guidelines.
Tips for Getting Hired at 15
Applying for and working at your first job can be nerve-wracking. But don’t worry. By following a few tips, you can stand out from the crowd and impress your older coworkers and managers.
- Be punctual: This applies to both your interview and your daily work. Your manager wants to know that you’re dependable. Simply showing up a few minutes early each day shows that you’re responsible and can be trusted.
- Dress appropriately: If your employer has a dress code (and they probably will), make sure you know what it is, and you follow it. For your interview, you’ll want to make sure that what you’re wearing isn’t distracting and will only help your cause. If you’re worried that tie or dress in the closet is too “dressy,” don’t. A manager will never be upset at you for “overdressing” for an interview, so just try to look as nice as you can.
- Ask questions and listen: Nobody likes a know-it-all…especially a 15-year-old know-it-all. Ask questions to make sure that you’re doing your work exactly how your supervisors want you to. And when they give you instructions, make sure you apply them immediately.
- Work hard: It really all just boils down to this. As long as you keep your head down, work hard, and don’t waste time while you’re on the clock, you’ll quickly become one of your manager’s favorite employees.
Those tips might seem simple to follow. And if you apply them, I can promise you that you won’t have any problem getting a job at 15 and keeping it.
It’s great that you want to work at 15. In fact, working as a young teenager can help you save money for your future. And, at the same time, you’ll learn job skills that will benefit you the rest of your life.
So if you’re a 15-year-old looking for a retail job, start by checking with one or more of the companies on this list.
And if you know of any other retail stores that hire at 15, be sure to let us know on social media!