MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – Some Grand Strand businesses continue to deal with staffing shortages.
It’s an issue chamber leaders say ranks high on their priority list for the 2022 new year.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Karen Riordan says the goal is to bring more stability to the workforce. She says that will help more restaurants and other employers overcome employment disruptions, some of which only got worse because of the COVID-pandemic.
“Try and even out the economy,” Riordan said.
Riordan says one way to bounce back stronger in 2022 is for the Chamber of Commerce to continue building on its long-term plans to make the Myrtle Beach Area a 12-month seasonal destination for families. She says it will help more folks keep the jobs they already have.
Riordan says in years past, our area was known as a nine-month seasonal destination which created uncertainly for workers who ended up losing their jobs during the slower economic seasons.
She says once the pandemic hit, it created new employment disruptions which slowed down the progress being made towards the year-round seasonal goal.
“People changing jobs, deciding to go into different industries, moving away, going to live with family, etc, we’ve had a lot of labor disruptions,” she said.
Looking ahead, Riordan says the chamber will continue to support businesses through its marketing, so families know they can visit the Grand Strand year-round, helping to keep more employees in the area working.
“Advocate for additional options, do whatever we can to get this workforce situation more under control. It gives more security for the workers and also gives more surety and stability for the employers who are trying to run these businesses,” Riordan said.
She added, they’re exploring other possible ways to make the workforce even more stable.
“We’re reading in other markets, they’re seeing retirees come out of retirement and start to take part-time jobs. Is that an option for us here at the Grand Strand? I don’t know but we’re going to explore that to see if there is a way to encourage some seniors that want to work, they don’t have to work but maybe they just want to work to take on some of the jobs we have available,” Riordan said.
Overall, Riordan says businesses have been resourceful throughout this past year, which helped them to continue to serve customers regardless of the staffing issues presented before them.
“I really think the heroes of 2021 were the workforce, the people who showed up every day, loyal to their employers. Despite all those challenges, we still delivered to millions of people from a visitors standpoint as well as all of us who are local. I hope we can do better next year so we don’t have quite the roller coaster we had in 2021,” Riordan said.
Some Grand Strand businesses agree.
Kimberly Rundell is a bartender at Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar and Grill in Myrtle Beach.
She says in months past, the pandemic did present some staffing challenges for their business.
“I think we made the best of the situation we were put in,” Rundell said.
Currently, Rundell says staffing in the front of the house is great.
However, she says there are some critical positions that need to be filled in the back.
“We obviously could use some more kitchen help. But I think every kitchen in the restaurant industry right now could use more kitchen help,” said Rundell.
She’s hopeful 2022 will be prosperous for businesses, as they strive to overcome the challenges many felt during the past year.
“It’s tough, you got a lot of people hiring for the same position. There’s only so many people that live here,” Rundell said.
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