WOODSTOCK — Staffing and supply chain issues are still impacting Shenandoah County’s small businesses.
Meredith Norris, who co-owns Flour and Water Co. and The Pantry at 117 in Woodstock, told the Shenandoah County Tourism Council during its monthly meeting Tuesday that the restaurant had to close for a few days while the head chef quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure. Sick employees and a lack of employees, she said, are not uncommon among the county’s small businesses.
“I’m hearing the same thing everywhere with staff troubles,” Norris said. “Either people are sick, they can’t get people hired, they can’t keep people once they’re hired because they go somewhere else once they’re hired or they end up not wanting to work. I’m hearing that across both food and retail.”
Norris also said small businesses are also having trouble competing with larger businesses that can offer more money per hour.
“We understand, we’ve all been there, but we can’t afford to pay $14 an hour right now,” she said.
Norris said those staffing issues were something that small businesses “just have to deal with right now.”
In terms of sick employees, Norris said she has seen more and more businesses, especially in the food industry, having all their employees wear masks to continue battling COVID-19 exposure.
On top of that, supply chain issues across the country have continued to impact businesses in both the retail and food industries.
Norris said her restaurant gets “about half” of what they order each week due to items being on back order.
Norris said she has items that are waiting to be shipped but she’s been told “there’s no truck to put it on.”
Edinburg Mayor Dan Harshman, who also owns the Edinburg Mill, said he’s had ordered items also not ship on time, including a set of lights that he ordered in February that still haven't arrived.
“We’ve been waiting for equipment and parts for months and months,” Harshman said.
Business owners on the tourism council, though, said that weathering the storm has a lot to do with staying busy and staying positive.
Despite facing these issues, Norris said she’s seen her numbers rising back to pre-pandemic levels.