Lead sees increase in business, but lack of workers – KELOLAND.com

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Lead sees increase in business, but lack of workers – KELOLAND.com

by: Sydney Thorson Posted: Jun 21, 2021 / 10:14 PM CDT / Updated: Jun 21, 2021 / 10:15 PM CDT

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LEAD, S.D. (KELO) — The tourism season is starting to ramp up, especially in western South Dakota as people check out Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the Black Hills. But much of the area, including Lead, still needs tourism workers.

As a new restaurant in town, Donica Schumacher and her few staff are trying to keep up with all the hungry customers.

“Normally we expect everything to be busy from Memorial Day to Labor Day here and even a slow start sometimes in June but I think we’ve been pretty busy since the beginning of May or even before that,” Schumacher said.

In order for the three employees here at Early Bird Café to open up for the night shift, they close down at two to reopen at five.

“We decided to shutdown between two and five because it was a little bit slower during that time and we just needed to regroup,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher isn’t the only one in town dealing with a lack of help.

Executive Director of the Lead Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Ward, says with hundreds of additional workers at the Sanford Underground Research Facility on top of tourism season… sales tax numbers continue to rise.

“There needs to be so many people to clean hotels and work all of the service jobs and work in restaurants and there’s just not enough people in the best of times to work here. So on top of all the growing industry, it’s a big problem to find enough staff everywhere,” Ward said.

At Miners and Merchants, Carol Oolman and her staff are working double the amount of hours than normal.
However, Oolman believes this is also great news.

“Our business has probably doubled in the last month which we love seeing and if it keeps going like this, it’s exciting,” Oolman said.

The lack of workers is a similar concern across the state.

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