Some business owners expecting Rally crowds to exacerbate worker shortages

SPEARFISH, S.D. — Increased tourism and worker shortages have been the trend this year, and business owners expect the Rally to exacerbate the issue.

For a few niche businesses, traffic may slow down as locals tend to avoid Rally crowds and traffic.

“We’ve actually been really fortunate with our team members; we’ve had some great applicants and trained really well.  So we have a great team right now. But I’ve talked to several other business owners, like daycare and different businesses are really having a difficult time getting that staff as well, yes,” said Kelly Gould, co-owner of Two Broke Girls.

For others, it’s not so simple.

“Even just in local restaurants, what servers are taking home a night for tips can be between 2- to 400-dollars based on people I know and ads that I’ve seen. So, if you can make that kind of money working a five or six hour shift versus what you would make in a non-service related industry, or say housekeeping or a customer service position that’s only gonna pay about $12 an hour. You know, when you do the math, it’s understandable why people would make that choice,” said Doris Cardwell, Good Earth Natural Foods.

This has already lead to reduced hours, longer wait times, and fewer amenities available to customers.

Sturgis Shortage

And store owners believe adding Sturgis to the mix will only delay the recovery.

As well as the the unrealistic expectations applicants have regarding what small businesses can afford to pay year round.

“I take applications here and I have people that come in and put on their application that they want to start at what I make as a manager for being a cashier,” Cardwell said.

But short-term wage increases may not be in the best interest of job applicants in the long run.

“So when I look at a resume I’m looking at how long have you stayed in positions, because it takes a lot of time to train somebody to work here and small businesses don’t have large departments that take care of on-boarding, right?” Cardwell said. “So if you are looking at taking a short term position, I would consider maybe trying a way to do that part time, so that you are able to keep your longevity. Then when rally is over or tourist season is over and you’re looking for more permanent placement, you haven’t butchered your resume.”

Categories: ConnectCenter1-Business, Local News, South Dakota News