Employers get competitive to find employees at Sarasota's University Town Square

From inside the University Town Center mall to stores and businesses that surround it, one thing is missing: workers.  

"It's been really hard to recruit people," said Diana Latta, a manager with Auntie Anne's. S

he has been with the company for 11 years. It's the first time she's had difficulty hiring.

"We've resorted to asking customers in our line if they would like a job or know somebody who would need a job," said Latta.

COVID-19 shut businesses down. Now that they've reopened many are having a hard time filling positions.

"We’ve worked short-handed every single day, the weekends are tough, we are a busy store," said Latta.

72 businesses throughout the UTC district all need new hires.

"The hours they can’t operate at full hours, they are adjusting and limiting hours because they don’t have enough staff," said Julie Fanning the Marketing Director for Benderson.

Ford's Garage is getting ready to open its doors at UTC, offering hiring bonuses and competitive pay.

"We have a lot of growth potential here, this is something that we can offer that’s not necessarily a job, but a career," said Nicholas Jones Ford's Garage service manager.

Other companies like Buckle are offering leadership training and flexible hours for school or family time.

"We are looking to add about 9-12. We’ve experienced a lot of growth within our store and company. Our company is thriving right now," said manager Jessie Prince.  

New businesses and established ones find themselves at the same point.  They are looking for people who want to work and offering jobs in nearly every position.  

"Luckily, there’s more people coming to Florida so we hope to see more people getting back to work," said Meikka Mixon with Ford's Garage.

For more information, visit https://mallatutc.com/events/the-mall-at-university-town-center-utc-job-fair.