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Pinellas County beach businesses looking to hire for hundreds of openings

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Pinellas County’s hospitality industry is looking to fill hundreds of job openings. Businesses along Pinellas County’s 35-mile stretch of coastline are in a desperate dash to hire more people as visitors flock back to our beautiful beaches.

If you venture down Gulf Boulevard, you’ll spot them everywhere. Now hiring signs which dot the marquees and entrance signs from one business to the next.

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Robin Miller, the President of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, says she has yet to find a single business that isn’t hiring from Pass-A-Grille to Clearwater Beach.

“We needed them (these new hires) starting yesterday. I have new businesses trying to open up, which is great news post and during this pandemic, and we need the applicants out here to put them to work,” she explained.

Some businesses have dozens of open positions.

“We actually have over 100 different job positions available. Anything from a vacation planner, to a boat captain to a pirate we actually have on-site,” explained Alexis Hoffstadter, an employee at the TradeWinds Island Resort on St. Pete Beach.

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Tourism is bouncing back significantly. After a year full of layoffs and uncertainty, business leaders say needing to hire is a good problem to have.

“Business is picking up, our demand looks great and people just want to come out and be here on the beach,” Hoffstadter added.

Yet, all that demand is creating one major obstacle — Businesses can’t seem to hire fast enough.

“I have 4 restaurants total. Three are in St. Pete Beach and one is in Madeira Beach, and I need a good 20 plus employees throughout all four of them,” explained Matt Vario who owns Toasted Monkey, The Reef, Rick’s Reef and hopes to get his new restaurant Buoy’s Waterfront Grill open soon in St. Pete beach.

Opening the new restaurant hinges on hiring enough staff.

“We’ll make it happen even if we have to open up on a smaller scale than we’d like to,” Vario elaborated.

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce has organized several large-scale job fairs, where they plan to recruit everyone from food service to hospitality to entertainment.

The job fairs will take place on the following days:

  • Monday, March 8 – 12 to 2 p.m.
    • St. Pete Beach Community Center
    • Madeira Beach City Hall
  • Wednesday, March 10 – 1 to 3 p.m.
    • St. Pete Beach Community Center
    • Madeira Beach City Hall
    • Belleair Beach Community Center
  • Thursday, March 11 – 12 to 2 p.m.
    • Treasure Island Community Center

Miller says some businesses are even offering incentives like gift cards or gas cards to employees who get hired and stay on board for anywhere between 60-120 days.

“We have a beautiful, award-winning destination in our back door. You can socially distance and safely entertain yourself. We just need the happy, smiling people to service these customers,” she added.

For more details about the job fairs or to find more jobs through the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce, click here.

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