Long Island’s East End Beach Towns Face Labor Shortages Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend – NBC New York

Sandy beaches, lobster rolls and vacation vibes – who wouldn’t want to soak up the sun on a summer job in Long Island’s East End beach paradise? Despite its beauty and charm, New York’s beach communities struggle to hire new talent.

The Twin Forks, which include the towns of Riverhead, Southold, East Hampton and Southampton, are preparing to welcome hundreds of guests for the unofficial kick-off of summer, but many small businesses are reporting labor shortages that could cause longer wait times for tourists.

NBC New York reached out to two dozen companies in the North and South Forks of Long Island and spoke with owners from a variety of industries, such as hospitality and fitness.

“We’ve gotten quite a few calls or resumes to fill the positions, but it’s been tough. We’ve had to pull out of other parts of the business, like a store in Port Jefferson. We’ve got that staff and move to the winery.” Pindar Damianos, general manager and owner of the family business Pindar Vineyards, told News 4. He hopes college students will fill the gap.

According to this year’s national AAA forecast, more than 39 million travelers will travel 80 miles or more from their homes this Memorial Day weekend, an increase of more than 8% since last year.

As vacationers prepare for the extended weekend trip, small businesses in resort communities scramble for extra hands for the wave of visitors.

Sky-high prices

While there may be no unequivocal reason to be responsible for the slow hiring process, a few shared arguments are due to inflation, real estate, and “The Great Resignation.”

“Honestly, I think it has to do with the housing situation. It’s always been an issue, it’s only gotten worse,” said Andrea Anthony, co-owner of The Lobster Roll eatery, also known as Lunch, based in Amagansett and Southampton.

For her, it’s a combination of two aspects: the Town of East Hampton rent registration laws and private homeowners driving up room prices. Low to middle class professionals and families can’t keep up, including the longtime locals on the Twin Forks.

Photos of homes for sale will be displayed on September 30, 2020 in Southampton, New York, at a real estate office on Main Street. – Umbrellas are in back garages when temperatures cool, but wealthy New Yorkers stay in the Hamptons after summer, fearing the pandemic and rising crime in the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Renie Costello, general manager of Carissa’s Bakery, believes this employment difficulty has become a trend over time and accelerated during the pandemic, with Manhattan’s neighbors living to the east year-round. , in addition to buying investment property.

For real estate in Hamptons, the annual average sales price rose nearly 20% within a year to a whopping $2.25 million by 2021, with sellers being less negotiable, according to Hamptons Market Data.

“Two years ago I had more closures here for purchases from people migrating east than probably in the past 10 to 15 years, so there are a lot of people here, more specifically to the North Fork,” said Richard Vandenburgh, who is the founder of Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, president of the New York State Brewers Association and a real estate attorney.

For a better perspective, currently on Airbnb for any given weekend in July in the Hamptons, nightly rates range from $300 to $13,000 per night. In addition, rising gas prices, up to $6.00 a gallon, and seasonal bumper-to-bumper traffic keep workers from clocking in on time.

Twin Fork companies also rely on international workers and can rent spaces to ensure housing is available for workers. Alex Berensen, president and COO of Organic Krush Eatery and Montauk restaurant La Fin Kitchen and Lounge, made sure you book ahead.

“We Did That” [booked] last year — literally in October. We went to the same people and said we would pay in advance, and we’re going to lock up the houses for next year, and we knew how many beds we were short of,” Berensen said.

Some companies read the tea leaves and took steps to beat the competition early. Gabriella Macari, general manager of the family-owned Macari Vineyards on the North Fork, decided to try a new tactic this year by teaming up with the human resources company Empowered Hospitality for support.

For wineries in particular, it is critical to find staff who can stay to harvest through the fall months. Word of mouth and building a network of acquaintances have come a long way for similar organizations.

‘The great layoff’

The United States continues to see employers struggle to fill positions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market hit a new record high of 11.5 million job openings in March, with about 4.3 million people leaving their jobs in January alone.

In November, the U.S. hospitality industry lost a record 1 million workers, including line cooks, waiters and hotel staff. Big companies like Amazon or Starbucks compete with local companies with tempting fees and benefits, forcing small businesses to rethink their strategy and costs.

The fitness industry is still feeling the blows after the height of the COVID pandemic. According to the Global Health & Fitness Association, 25% of all health and fitness facilities have been closed in the past two years, while more than 1.5 million jobs have been cut.

“We’ve had additional challenges because we lost a lot of our staff during COVID and because we’re in the fitness industry, a lot of people didn’t want to come back, so we’ve only just started getting tour visits back,” said Lienette Crafoord, owner of Hamptons Hot Yoga.

People in face masks walk along Main Street in Southampton, New York, on September 30, 2020. – Umbrellas are in back garages when temperatures cool, but wealthy New Yorkers stay in the Hamptons after summer, fearing the pandemic and rising crime in the city. (Photo by Kena Betancur/AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Crafoord and Damianos note the added, odd challenge of would-be mercenaries depicting interviews by not showing up.

And the staffing problem could extend as far west as Long Island. Jennifer Donatelli, Sundae Donuts’ event planner, says the company is struggling to hire people at all levels, from front desk staff to management at multiple Long Island locations.

“We thought maybe it was the students because they want more money or do internships. Middle schoolers can’t find them either. I’ve literally called and emailed the public high schools around us that we’re recruiting — nothing,” said Donatelli.

Meeting customer expectations

With an influx of customers and fewer working staff, most owners are still confident in ensuring guests’ happiness in general, but have some uncertainties due to supply chain issues and inflation.

“I’m a bit concerned about the price perception as we had no choice but to raise prices. In Southampton we are keeping our prices low for the winter, knowing we have to go up in the spring,” said Anthony. bit scary. There’s only so much you can count on, and the prices are off the charts.”

Another change this year, Berensen has decided to skip offering lunch and stick to weekend brunch and daily dinner menus, which he says will help keep the crew from wearing out.

“Please be patient and spread kindness. Everyone works so hard. I literally see these guys in the kitchen just sweating on the leash, and people working 12 or 14 hours a day,” Berensen said.

Leave a Comment