SARASOTA COUNTY - Unemployment numbers in the area continue to decline; Sarasota County’s unemployment rate is now around 7%, compared to nearly 9% at this time last year. Monday in Venice, one company was looking to hire 100 full time workers with benefits.
The Venice Pier Group operates Sharky's, Snook Haven, and soon a new sit down restaurant next to Sharky’s, called Fins. The family-owned business is quickly hiring for the busy season. Monday, ABC 7 found plenty of people ready to fill the void.
"It looks like a good place to work." Debbi Castle is one of what's expected to be around 1,000 potential employees who will show up Monday and Tuesday. "The job market is still pretty tight right now. This industry you go through a lot of people."
Greeters, servers, cooks and bartenders are needed -- at least 100 in total for the three restaurants.
This is the first time in 26 years that the company, headed by Mike Pachota, has had a job fair. “We need a lot of people. We employ 150 now here at Sharky's, another 50 out at Snook Haven. We will probably need another 75 here."
His son Justin says they are offering good paying jobs with benefits. “We offer 401k, health insurance, dental insurance, an employee savings plan, an emergency fund."
Even a free YMCA membership; the changes in the health care system are not having a negative impact there. "The plan we already offer qualifies for the changes in the health reform. We have not had to make any changes. We have sort of been ahead of the curve on that. We are ready for that and we offer the benefits people need."
In 2010, the unemployment rate was close to 13% in our area. Now it’s nearly half that.
Still, those like Debbi say it's not easy. "To find a good one with benefits is even harder."
And perhaps working on the beach or on the river is a benefit in itself. "What more could you ask for?"
The new restaurant Fins is expected to be open in mid-December.