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Area Holiday Hiring Appears Scarce

Economy taking a toll on seasonal jobs, according to many business owners.

With high unemployment rates and economic turmoil dominating news headlines, it is no secret that jobs have been hard to come by for the unemployed. For those looking to earn some extra cash in retail over the holidays, the outlook does not look much more promising than it has been for the rest of the year throughout Morris County.

The state of the economy has launched a two-fold attack on job prospects in the area, making it more difficult for more Morris County-area residents to make ends meet during such a busy time of year.

“We’ve all cut everybody back so much,” said Jodie MacKenn Bross of the Glenwild Garden Center in Bloomingdale. “It’s unfortunate, because there are people who really need that work.”

Some businesses, such as Bloomingdale Florist and Gift Shops in Bloomingdale, are finding it increasingly difficult to generate the revenue to hire extra employees during the holidays.

“Financially, it’s a hard nut to crack. We have work that has to be done, and in my business, it’s not set in stone,” said Ed DeVito of Bloomingdale Florist and Gift Shops. “I have to be very careful. Every year, it’s been getting worse and worse.”

DeVito fears that the state of the economy, coupled with big business “superstores” carrying more and more of the same items that can be found in small, “mom-and-pop” shops, could eventually put small businesses out of commission entirely.

“The economy is in full control. It’s ‘big brother’ that is swallowing us up. It shouldn’t be allowed,” said DeVito. “We have to fight with all the (big businesses) who really don’t care, because they have it, and they don’t care if they make money on it or if they don’t make money on it. They’re going to put us all out of business.”

If a lack of generated revenue is not preventing hiring in itself, then it is certainly taking a toll on the demand for more workers during the holidays. Consumers are spending less, making seasonal, holiday hires less necessary.

“It’s not (affected) financially, it’s just that there’s no need for someone else to be here,” said Lauren Rossi of Cottage Charm, a small specialty shop in Madison.

At this point in the season, those hoping for seasonal employment may run into another problem: many businesses have already hired and trained a sufficient amount of employees for the holiday season. Such is the case at Tons of Toys, which boasts two Morris County locations—one in Chatham, and another in Madison.

Chris Brinkofski, co-owner of Tons of Toys, stated that he and other employers prefer to get holiday help in as soon as possible—even if that means hiring before the season actually begins.

“In our business, I need a lot of time to train, so I definitely hire for the holidays," Brinkofski said. "I usually try to get that done in October. We have so many toys in here, and to know the layout and the products in here, it takes a long time. Like most people, they kind of do have their steady employees, and they’re about the same as me, in that, they try to hire early for the holidays so people are on their game. It’s tough to bring somebody in right in the middle of the season.”

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