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Loyalty in a Central Texas flower shop during an employee shortage

50 years working side by side
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Posted at 3:52 PM, Dec 08, 2021

By now most already know about the employee shortage.

Many Americans are taking the country song 'Take this job and shove it,' from Johnny Paycheck literally.

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For 50 years Anita Adams has owned the florist. To this day she does cards by hand and answers the phone to take orders.

But in the small town of Hamilton, you find a different story at Hamilton Floral & Gifts. Anita Adams, 82, has owned the store for 50 years. She's seen a lot during her time.

"I've seen people wanting to work. And we're happy to work and happy to have a job to for having trouble now getting people to come and apply for a job," said Anita Adams owner of Hamilton Floral & Gifts.

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Gary Garner has been working at the same floral for over 50 years.

What's unique is she has been able to keep one employee, Gary Garner, for 50 years.

"I guess I've worked so long with flowers, I enjoy working," said Anita Adams.

Not only have they been working together, but their kids are also married to each other.

"I love her," said Gary Garner speaking about her boss.

Work From Home

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, many people were forced to work from home.

"We did not close, we could deliver to the hospital," said Adams.

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Rural America has been feeling the affects of workers leaving there jobs. Many business owners are working around the clock to keep things open.

This is not just a problem in America, this is an issue that the world is facing.

The UK is seeing the same, the number of open jobs surpassed 1 million for the first time ever in August.

"We have this huge forced experiment when it came to working from home for millions of individuals. The individuals who weren't able to work from home are often working in less than ideal conditions during a really stressful time" said Anthony Klotz, associate professor of management at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

service jobs

The most recent US Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows most who quit in August worked in food and hospitality. That made up 157,000 of the 242,000 total resignations. In the foodservice sector, 6.8 percent of workers quit, it's the second-highest outside the leisure sector was retail trade at 4.7 percent.

I think that all workers, regardless of their generation will have more options in the future. So that maybe early in your career, you could work in person in the middle of careers, you're raising your family, you could go hybrid. And then when you want to travel more later in your career, you would go fully remote or something like that.

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The small town of Hamilton has been feeling the effects of the 'Great Resignation.' Now many places have been hiring teens that are eligible to work for foodservice.

In September, 14 million American workers ages 20 to 34 were not considered part of the U.S. workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, who were neither working nor looking for work.

At this local flower shop, things are still going old school. They write cards by hand and it's still a phone call to buy some flowers. They know they won't be able to work much longer and worry about the future of the shop.

In the meantime, it's moving from one holiday to the next with Valentine's day on the horizon.

"No we try to forget about that until January," Adams laughs.

It's long hours with years of loyalty.