• Last modified 1099 days ago (June 16, 2021)


Convenience store forced into inconvenient hours

Staff writer

If you are looking for a job, Tina Novak would be grateful to meet you.

The new manager at Marion’s Ampride is making do with only two employees — which is not nearly enough.

Ampride is “very much in the market” for new hires, but she only has had two people apply.

Her staff is stretched so thin she had to make a tough choice and cut back on hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays and close on Sundays.

“We need some new staff, I’m telling you,” she said.

Randy Collett, Marion’s director of economic development has heard similar complaints across all industries.

“I don’t know what the solution is,” he said. “I just know that they are not the only ones in the community right now with that struggle.”

Collett declined to speculate about the reason for the bust in the local labor market, but Novak was blunt.

“People make more on unemployment, and we can’t compete with that,” she said.

Collett said he hadn’t heard of anyone not working because of extra unemployment they are receiving.

A number of factors could keep people out of the job market. Among them are lack of affordable child care.

Extended unemployment benefits, which expire in September, are intended to aid workers still dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19.

People eligible for unemployment benefits in their state receive an extra $300 per week from the federal government.

Novak said the pay at Ampride was negotiable for the right hire, though she admits some might be able to offer more.

A few blocks down the street, competitor Casey’s General Store also is seeking employees, advertising and $11-an-hour starting wage.

In the meantime, her staff could really use some help.

Last modified June 16, 2021