The search is on for Evergreen-area business owners

Employers desperate to find workers

Deb Hurley Brobst
dbrobst@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/1/21

Evergreen businesses are on a fishing expedition — trying to find the right bait to lure in a great catch of new employees. Some are offering wages in the range of $15 to $20 an hour, hoping that …

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The search is on for Evergreen-area business owners

Employers desperate to find workers

Posted

Evergreen businesses are on a fishing expedition — trying to find the right bait to lure in a great catch of new employees.

Some are offering wages in the range of $15 to $20 an hour, hoping that boosting incentives will bring in the workers they need, especially with more people frequenting area businesses this summer. It’s not only restaurants looking for workers; banks, insurance agents, Henderson Mine and more are searching for help and beginning to get a bit desperate.

Representatives from 22 area businesses joined together at a jobs fair at El Rancho Brewing on May 24 to find much-needed employees. They spoke with 22 job seekers, and while that was a respectable number, the need is much greater.

Nancy Judge, president of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce, said the business owners couldn’t wait any longer — not even until public schools’ summer break — because they need to hire now.

Businesses are frustrated because they can’t find help yet hopeful that 2021 will be a prosperous year after a devastating 2020.

Why it’s difficult

Business representatives say the employment landscape has changed not only here but around the country. In general, they are having a tougher time finding workers than in years past, and they surmise it’s for several reasons attributed to the pandemic: people preferring to work from home, unemployment checks being large enough so people don’t need to work, moms not working because they are home with their kids and more.

For some like J.R.’s Landscaping, summer help is a must, while others are increasing their staffs to pre-pandemic levels.

“I think about the opportunities,” said Bryan Caldwell, an American Family Insurance agent. “There are all of these great companies hiring, so people can find something that fits them.”

Victoria Logan, director of operations at Lariat Lodge Brewing Co., said weathering the pandemic restrictions was difficult, especially with laying off staff, and now trying to hire staff as the restaurant has gotten busier has become disheartening.

“It wears on people trying to stay in the fight,” she said.

Job availability

Owners say they have tried advertising everywhere they can think of — job websites, social media and more — and they are not getting applicants.

“We have had a bit of trouble with the traditional channels,” said Liz Dinkel, marketing coordinator with Mountain Hearth & Patio, which has four positions open.

Lisa Cordova, owner of Aspen Way Chalet, is looking for a couple of housekeepers. She says she posted the job openings in mid-April and usually gets about 10 candidates, but this year, none.

Elk Run Assisted Living, for example, is looking for caregivers, since it has 20 new residents moving in between March and mid-June, according to Marketing Director Lisa Carter, because it’s important to keep a good ratio of caregivers to residents.

Tammy Carroll, the branch manager at USBank, noted that she advertised a 15-hour position with no applications, so she has converted it into a full-time position, hoping it will be more enticing to job-seekers.

Even Climax Molybdenum Mine, which operates the Henderson Mine in Empire, is in desperate need of 40 tradespeople and laborers, according to engineer Talon Choate, who says the company offers travel stipends for those driving longer distances to get to work. Employment needs ebb and flow, he said, most of the time in conjunction with the economy.

The eight restaurants represented at the jobs fair are looking for workers in every position, noting that they came close to shutting down during the pandemic when they were only allowed to offer carry-out services. Now, with downtown Evergreen packed on the weekends as the weather improves, they are busy but with insufficient staff to serve all of those customers.

“We survived (the pandemic),” said Whitney Carloss with Parkside Café in Bergen Park, “but now we’re gearing up for the summer. It’s tough everywhere (to find employees), but especially in the mountains.”

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