Local retailers are facing the same worker shortages as businesses across the nation, but the new manager of Family Dollar aims to get the store back on track.
New manager Jana Anderson, 38, previously worked as a health care provider for 15 years before her new position at the store. Anderson is a certified medical assistant and licensed to run an assisted-living facility.
Before joining Family Dollar, Anderson worked in Brookdale Overland Park senior living and Wellsville Retirement Community.
Due to the pandemic, Anderson was laid off from the facilities for the risk of cross-contamination. She didn’t expect to leave the field of health care but said her new job at Family Dollar has been rewarding.
“I never thought I’d go back into retail, but it’s been great,” Anderson said.
She also previously worked as a manager for gas stations for 10years.
With Anderson helping to get Family Dollar back on track, the store looks to hire more workers. The store only has a four-staff team and is in need of applicants.
“It’s starting to look good. Getting our shelves full, getting the inventory worked through and getting stuff out as fast as we can. Even short-staffed,” Anderson said.
Family Dollar is not the only local store affected by worker shortages.
Zeb’s Coffeehouse reduced the store’s hours the week of Labor Day due to not having enough staff members.
Zeb’s owner Kathy Weld said her business started to experience the significance of the worker shortage in March.
“That was when we were starting to rebound and getting to add people to our team,” she said. “Now we have just been never able to add, and we’ve been barely able to maintain.”
There are only eight workers on Zeb’s team currently. Of them, one is on maternity leave and two are only able to work Saturdays.
“With the availability we have now, we should be closer to 11 or 12 [workers],” Weld said.
Subway also has a lot of young workers. With school starting in August, many of its staff have quit due to not having time to commit to both a job and education.
“A big problem I find is lack of transportation,” Subway manager Kylee Johnson said.
Subway often uses just two to three workers on the same shifts. If workers aren’t able to drive to work, then it severely affects the other staff, Johnson said.
Dairy Queen manager Melissa Athey said the restaurant was struggling during the summer because most of its staff consisted of high schoolers.
“For the adult employees, I think it was probably because of the unemployment with the checks going out … or it was because of pay,” Athey said.
For Zeb’s, there are more frequent questions about how much the starting pay is for positions, Weld said. A lot of the store’s new applicants are not able to work weekends or closing shifts, which is not something the store has had a problem with in the past.
Weld keeps in communication with other business owners across the country, and has seen a common thread of worker shortage obstacles.
“In larger cities than we are in, lots of other business owners are experiencing similar challenges of staffing shortages, especially in the food service industry,” Weld said.
Family Dollar is also finding the same questions from applicants concerning pay. Anderson is working to find a sustainable work balance for herself and her team.
Anderson is still committed to bringing the store back to its regular operation despite having to make a 45-minute commute from Pomona, Kansas. She is also on call if needed at the Homestead of Eudora but is currently not taking shifts.
Since being hired, Anderson sees an abundance of support through the community expressing their gratitude for keeping the store open. She regularly posts updates for the store through its Facebook page, ensuring the store can provide for the community.
“Getting good positive feedback on Facebook has been great through the community,” Anderson said
Reach reporter William Crow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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