Grove businesses struggling due to worker shortages

GROVE, Okla.– Worker shortages are affecting businesses all over, but Grove Oklahoma has been hit hard in the past few months.

“Most all businesses here in Grove, it’s been very difficult for all businesses I think you can drive through town and there’s a help wanted sign on almost every business here in town,” said restaurant owner Terry Eskew.

Eskew owns the Honey Creek barbecue in Grove, it’s one of two restaurants he owns. But it’s the only one he can currently use. His other restaurant, the Parrot Steakhouse had to close.

“It’s called the parrot steakhouse and grill…Went from being closed for 45 days due to the shutdown, we’ve been running on a very minimal short-staffed  crew, year and a half we’ve run on that short staff crew, you know it’s just no applications, people just aren’t coming and applying,”

Now he says he’s had to combine his two restaurants after The Parrot Steakhouse had to close due to low staffing.

“We had 2-3 members of our staff come down with Covid…and so we were unable to open through the labor day weekend, and of course with short staff 1 or 2 people are out then it just makes it impossible to operate, so we had to be closed for a minimum of two weeks…we’re just unable to hire any staff, so my wife and I just decided that instead of running the restaurant on a partial staff, not operating the way it should run, we just temporarily closed the doors for now,” Eskew said.

Their situation isn’t unique for Grove either, Donnie Crain, president of Grove’s Chamber of Commerce says he’s been seeing plenty of businesses shutting their doors.

“With Covid and some of the impacts from that, it’s been an increasing problem here in Grove and grand lake, finding employees and particularly those employees that are employers can depend on to be at work every day like you need to run a business,” Crain said.

Even after combining the two restaurants, Eskew says he still struggles with staffing but can keep his restaurant operational for the time being.

According to Crain, the job market is in a position that’s easier on employees, harder on employers.

“It’s an employees market at this time because so many people need good workers, and for those that may be looking for more stable income, year-round employment, and stuff, sometimes that will be a factor in when they’re deciding where they want to work versus other places,” Crain said.