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'Hiring anyone that shows up': SF businesses struggle to stay afloat amid labor shortage

'Hiring anyone that shows up': SF businesses struggle to stay afloat amid labor shortage

"Right now we'll take anyone who are willing to learn and stay with us." The pandemic's effects on the labor force are still being widely felt, but are especially pronounced for small and medium-sized businesses that may not survive.
Walk up to French Tulip Flowers in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood, and you'll be greeted by a sign that reads 'We are hiring anyone that shows up'.

"Right now we'll take anyone who are willing to learn and stay with us," said the store's owner, Andrei Abramov.

Abramov says, right now, he and his girlfriend are the only two people working at the shop- working all day, every day.

A few weeks ago, Abramov put the sign in the store's front window to try and attract anyone willing to help out.

"We had two employees and one of our employees retired, and one employee just opened his own shop," Abramov said.

But French Tulip Flowers isn't the only shop having difficulties getting employees.

Several in Noe Valley say it's a persistent problem.

Just a few feet down the road at Casa Mexicana, Jose Rodriguez says his team has been short staffed for months.

Something he fears could potentially get worse with the emergence of the new omicron variant.

"Very worried about it. There's a lot of people who don't want to get the vaccine," Rodriguez said.

Issues like these have been popping up for business all around the country, says Julia Pollak, the chief economist for ZipRecruiter.

She says the pandemic's effects on the labor force are still being widely felt, but are especially pronounced for small and medium-sized businesses.

"They just don't have the financial cushion to compete on pay and benefits to the same degree. And, two, you know, they don't have entire departments devoted to human resources analytics," Pollak said.

But until the time comes when more help walks through the door, Abramov says they'll just keep taking it one day at a time.

"We were lucky in the past and we'll just create a nice atmosphere so people like to work here."
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