Stores holding back on hiring extra holiday help



Can’t find a job this holiday season? Make your own:

• Snow plow driver — Got a truck and some spare time in the mornings? Invest in a plow attachment and offer to clear out people’s driveways. It worked for Mr. Plow.

• Baby sitter — Whether parents want to go to parties this season or do some shopping without the kids, they’ll likely need a baby sitter. It’s a great first job for teens and something a parent can offer to do for their friend’s kids.

• Caterer/catering assistant — People always need good food for holiday parties. If you’re a good cook, try offering to cater some friends’ parties and grow from there. If you know a caterer, see if they need some help in the kitchen or an extra server for bigger parties.

• Personal shopper — It’s a dream job for some people if they can get it, but there are people that will hire someone to do their Christmas shopping for them.

• Gift wrapper — Some people will pay you to wrap their gifts once they’re purchased.

• Professional decorator/organizer/cleaner — Anyone with family coming in for the holidays will want their house to look its best. See if a friend or neighbor needs someone to help make that happen.

• Tree light hanger — Some people prefer to leave the frostbite, crooked lights and swearing to someone else. Create magnificent displays with Christmas lights in someone’s yard or on their house for a fee.

• Santa — There’s more than one ad on seeking Santa appearances for $50 to $60 an hour. Got a beard and a red suit? Give it a whirl.

In a season when retailers are tightening their belts and only elves seem to be guaranteed a job for the holidays, some businesses still are hiring.

Enstrom Candies at 701 Colorado Ave. hired approximately 80 people to help with extra orders during the holiday season. Darla Fortner, human resources manager for Enstrom Candies, said about six of the jobs are in retail, and half of the new seasonal employees are stationed in the call center, taking orders and answering questions. The rest of the positions were filled in “behind the scenes” work, such as making and packaging chocolate and toffee.

Fortner said the company got more applications than usual this year for seasonal jobs.

“It’s unfortunate for the economy but good for us. It means more quality, more dedication,” she said.

Enstrom Candies isn’t the only employer experiencing a crush of applications this November. The Salvation Army in Grand Junction, which searched into December last year for people to ring bells and earn $8 an hour as people filled Salvation Army kettles with spare change, had five times the applicants they needed by mid-November this year.

Other stores are holding back on hiring extra help this year. Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 2451 Patterson Road, is not hiring seasonal workers this year, but that was its policy last year as well. Instead, some workers just work some extra shifts to help with increased customer visits, according to assistant manager Dona Gearhart.

Other employers are making a change this year. Mesa County Workforce Center Supervisor Gilbert Lujan said the center has 85 job orders, which are postings from one company for one or more positions, at this time. That’s down from 350 job orders a year ago.

A handful of those orders are for seasonal work. Although most of the seasonal jobs are in retail, which is normal, Lujan said the number of retail jobs available over the holiday season shrunk from 2008.

Job posting site is advertising seasonal work for retail sales associates at RadioShack and for delivery driver helpers and handlers at United Parcel Service in Grand Junction. has a job posting in Grand Junction for holiday jobs at Sears and a posting that says FedEx is hiring seasonal drivers in Montrose.

Whether the offer is for seasonal work or something with more longevity, Lujan said job-seekers are willing to apply.

“People right now are willing to take what they can get,” he said. “A lot of people are out there just willing to try something they wouldn’t otherwise have looked at.”


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