Good signs for local business

Many Main Street businesses are looking for new hires

Help wanted sign in window

By Charles M. Kelly

There are signs that local business is beginning to stage a comeback.

Help wanted signs, that is.

On Saturday, May 8, the Sun counted 10 help wanted signs on Main Street—some advertising a specific position, some multiple positions.

“I usually only post through Indeed to get people, but Indeed has too many listings and my post does not get the normal exposure,” wrote Rob Jahncke, president of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce and owner of Javatinis Espresso on Main Street, in a recent email to the Sun.

A brief search of the Indeed site found 135 job listings in Seal Beach, California, as of 14 days ago, on Monday, May 10.

“I normally do not have to pay to advertise, but now I do just so people will see my Help want ad. Businesses are doing much better now,” Jahncke wrote.

“It is a perfect storm now for Main Street and the area. (I have the same problem at my second store in Lakewood.)  Many people got their stimulus checks and so they are spending more, which is a boost to the businesses, so I have to hire more staff to keep up,” Jahncke wrote.

“However, many people  left the food service business because it collapsed and now they work office, factory or other jobs and they are not coming back,” Jahncke wrote.

“Also, many that lost their jobs receiving unemployment are not motivated to come back because of the current enhanced unemployment benefits.  I have heard that COOKS are extremely hard to find.  Some, not so reputable,  businesses are steeling COOKS for others to fill their positions,” Jahncke wrote.

The Sun also counted three empty store fronts.

“The empty space by my store (where Heavenly Couture was) is currently being built out for a Bruster’s Ice Cream,” Jahncke wrote in a May 9 text message.

“They told me they are planning to open beginning of July if all goes well,” Jahncke wrote.

“I still believe businesses are picking up,” Jahncke wrote.

Over the weekend, See’s Candy recently held a ribbon cutting in the Shops at Rossmoor (which is actually located in Seal Beach). “They will do very well there,” said District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick.

(The shopping center isn’t in Kalmick’s district, but Main Street is.)

Kalmick said he didn’t know the normal number of signs in a non-pandemic period.

However, Kalmick also said that help wanted signs mean that a business either needs a replacement or more employees.

“That’s a good sign,” Kalmick said.

He said he thought a recovery might be possible.

Kalmick said if Seal Beach gets some warm, sunny weather, people will start swarming the town.

Kalmick said that businesses that have survived will probably do well—as long as landlords don’t claw back on lost revenue.

Kalmick said he is optimistic. He said the businesses he had spoken with told him they did well during the pandemic.