Pee Dee businesses face staffing shortage; Red Bone Alley back in business

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Red Bone Alley is back in business Wednesday after it had to close its doors Tuesday because it’s so short staffed.

“We decided over the weekend because we looked at our available staff,” general manager of Red Bone Alley David Poland said. “And we felt like we couldn’t stretch our staff seven days a week this week.”

He said the amount of customers they serve has been growing since February.

“Business has been looking up,” Poland said. “It’s been increasingly busy on weekends especially. However, our staff has not grown.”

Having a small staff was fine when all the orders were takeout, but now that people are dining out again, employees face longer hours and more difficult shifts.

“You’ve got four tables to begin with and you’re running around the restaurant,” server Chrysalis Wilkes said. “Then to get a whole other twelve more people in a party, it just adds a lot of stress to it.”

Other staff members agreed it’s been challenging.

“I mean, we’re on a two-hour wait half the time,” server Breana Taylor said. “There’s a lot of crying but we all make it through.”

According to the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce, other businesses are dealing with the same thing.

“The hospitality sector is another area where the exact same thing is happening,” chamber president Michael Miller said. He explained that some workers would rather remain on unemployment. Others may be used to working at home or anxious about COVID-19.

“They’re falling short on staffing needs; applications are not there,” Miller said. “Right now, there’s some support behind them in terms of stimulus and unemployment benefits. Those eventually are going to run their course.”

He believes that sooner or later, most people will need to find work.

“We need some help,” Poland said. “We need members of the community to come in and give us help. We want to give you a job.”

He intends to hire 30 more employees. Whether or not they will close their doors again is a decision made on a day-to-day basis.

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