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Help is hard to find

If you’re a business owner looking for employees, Glenwood Springs is a tough place to be right now. So tough that Daily Bread owner Nicky Brouillette has been forced to close the popular Grand Avenue eatery on Wednesdays and Thursdays until she can find qualified help. So tough that Gary Miller, owner of Anderson’s Clothing on Grand Avenue was forced to advertise a $200 reward for anyone able to find him qualified help. According to the state’s latest statistics, Garfield County’s latest unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the state, at 3.2 percent. Oil and gas jobs around Rifle have been siphoning off employees from service jobs in Glenwood, leaving the service industry in the dust, said Colorado Department of Labor spokesman Joseph Winter. With the big-boxes at Glenwood Meadows looking for employees right next to many other businesses in town, Winter said he’s not sure yet where all the employees to fill the job vacancies will come from. But Miller was lucky. He said Thursday that his reward offer paid off with 15 mostly unqualified applicants, one of which was just what he was looking for. Miller is in the process of hiring that applicant now. What does it take to be unqualified for a retail job? “I was really looking for someone with computer background and customer service – just a little,” Miller said. “And it was not easy finding that.”Brouillette epitomizes the pains local employers are feeling when no one comes looking for a job. It’s been hitting her in the wallet since the summer. “It’s been pretty difficult,” she said, adding that after she hires many employees, they quit showing up for work. Brouillette homeschools her son and also caters through the Daily Bread, so she said it has been difficult to stay open without a full staff when she’s gone. If she doesn’t have a full staff, service and food quality begin to suffer, she said. To combat that, Brouillette said she decided to choose two days each week to close the Daily Bread so she could have consistently good service and food during the rest of the week. She said she hopes she’ll find qualified workers and be open all week by the end of the month. “I don’t see (the employment situation) getting better any time soon because there’s going to be more jobs opening in the next six months,” she said. With Glenwood Meadows needing in excess of 500 employees, Glenwood is in a weird stage of growth – like puberty – where the number of potential employees in town haven’t caught up to the number of available jobs, she said. “People haven’t moved to town yet,” she said. She said being closed two days a week hurts her bottom line, but she said she’d rather be closed than have unhappy customers. “I’m looking at keeping my fingers crossed only through the end of October,” Brouillette said. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520bmagill@postindependent.com


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