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Missoula bakery struggling to find seasonal help amid low unemployment rate

Posted at 2:34 PM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 16:34:28-05

The holiday season is sneaking up on businesses across Montana and some local businesses are struggling to find extra help.

"It is right around the corner here, I always say it is like a freight train, and it is coming straight for us," Christy Wich, who owns Missoula's Black Cat Bake Shop, told MTN News.

The bakery -- which opened 25 years ago now sends festive treats to customers across America -- add at least 20 items to their menu this time of year. Wich said they hire six to eight new employees every year for the holidays, because they start making their stollen Christmas cake in mid-November.

Customers Kathy and Tom Dove, who have been coming to the shop for years, say they send the cake out for Christmas. The pair visit the shop so often that their drink order after Kathy.

"Our favorite thing is probably the staff, the people that work here are remarkably professional, friendly, open and they remember our names."

Wich says she’s having a harder and harder time finding reliable people to hire. She says more than once this week she’s had potential employees not show up for interviews. The unemployment rate in Missoula is one of the lowest in the state at 2.7 percent.

“That's what makes it difficult, you get to a point where so few people are unemployed that those are looking for work and those that are most qualified are ones that are already working."

Wich says she needs people that can help prepare, bake, and mail holiday orders.