Southwest Virginia businesses altering hours, in desperate need of employees


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – It’s a similar sight all across the region – “Now Hiring” and “Help Wanted” signs can be seen on a number of businesses, but especially in Southwest Virginia.

With the extension of additional unemployment benefits designated by the CARES act in Virginia, many business owners feel that could be the reason for the lack of interest when it comes to these job postings.

“If you can make more at home rather than coming out to work, that’s probably what’s going on,” said Co-Owner of The Wooden Pickle, Chris Saufley.

Saufley said they’ve also struggled with staffing, and in recent weeks, they made the decision to close on Mondays in order to give his staff some adequate time off.

“We need people immediately, and we want to get back to full capacity on our staff so that we can serve our customers because our job here is for people to have a great experience, and we need people to work. We need cooks, we need servers,” said Saufley.

The Wooden Pickle isn’t the only business adjusting. Aubrey’s at the Pinnacle in Bristol, Virginia also made the decision to close on Tuesdays.

Nicole Grogg, General Manager of Aubrey’s in Bristol, said her staff was working 50-60 hours a week and needed a break. In the meantime, they’ve been using the Tuesdays off to conduct interviews.

“We would set up 20 interviews and have one person show up, so it was making it very difficult to get people hired and trained,” said Grogg.

This past week, she said things are looking up as they’ve made seven new hires. They hope to reopen on Tuesday the week of July 20 once they have proper staffing.

On State Street, two brothers who brewed up a dream and opened State Street Brewing are also looking to hire more staff.

“It’s time to start hiring, stacking our employees, and making sure they’re not pushed too hard to the point that they’re not enjoying their experience,” said Kent Pierson, Co-Owner of State Street Brewing Company.

Kent’s twin brother and business partner, Kody Pierson, said the lack of interest in these jobs could be due to a number of reasons.

“I think people may still be a little scared to venture out. We are seeing that change though, thank goodness, but I do think that’s one of the factors,” said Kody Pierson, Co-Owner of State Street Brewing Company.

The Piersons said they’ve been open for what they call ” a year and a COVID year” since they were planning to celebrate their first anniversary right as the pandemic was shutting things down.

For the first time since the pandemic, the two plan to reopen State Street Brewing to regular hours this week, but they still need the staff to do it.

If you’re looking for a job in Southwest Virginia, The Wooden Pickle, Aubrey’s, and State Street Brewing are all hiring.

If you’re interested in other job opportunities, the Virginia Employment Commission is constantly posting about new jobs across the Commonwealth.

On Wednesday, June 23, a public employer job fair will be held all day at the Hilton Garden Inn located at 325 Village Circle in Bristol, Virginia. All you need is your resume and two forms of identification and you could get hired on the spot.

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