Get ready to hear a lot of “I do’s” this summer.
Maybe you won’t hear them from people you’re trying to hire, but you will hear them from couples tying the knot.
As Brandon Brocia, who owns The Eatery and Bleu with his wife Theresa, said this week, “It’s like we’ll be having one-and-a-half summers in one.”
Meaning, between the bookings from last summer (about half of last summer’s bookings decided to carry over) and new bookings for this summer, 2021 promises to be the busiest season ever.
Sandra DiDomizio, owner of Green Fox Events and Guest Services agrees.
For comparison’s sake, she said that during a typical summer, Green Fox might handle 25 weddings and 10 other events.
This year, she already has 32 weddings and 8 other events on the books, and anticipates booking another ten more.
Some weeks, she’s fielding multiple inquiries per day.
What does this mean for vendors like Michelle Goulet of Mountain Cakery? ”It’s pretty nutty this year,” she says succinctly.
Brian Balarsky, owner of Convict Lake Resort, said clients are getting more creative, booking weddings on Fridays, Sundays and even midweek to make things work.
Brocia also said he’s seeing a lot more midweek bookings.
A universal challenge appears to be having the staff on hand to meet demand.
Brocia said a Pastry Chef he hired had to renege on a job commitment when she couldn’t find a place to live. “She told me she’d never seen the housing market this tight and wasn’t going to live out of her car.”
As a general observation, Brocia said the service sector employees lost during Covid just haven’t come back. “We’re stretched labor-wise,” said Brocia, who said he’s been in hiring mode for the past three months.
Goulet, who says she works
60-hour weeks during the summers (12-15 hours three days a week and then 5-8 hours another three days), says she’s been trying to hire someone for the past few years at $18-20/hour for 30 hours/week.
“I had one,” she said, “but they couldn’t find housing.”
DiDomizio said she was able to carry her core staff through the pandemic via various SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. Still, she’s looking to add a few people to get her through the summer.
The double whammy for Mammoth which has affected event organizers and vendors is not just the shallow labor pool, but the fact that the pandemic thinned the herd when it comes to vendors.
“It would be great to have more options,” said DiDomizio. “We tend to burn ourselves out.”
Brocia, for one, is a fan of DiDomizio. He attributes her busy summer schedule this year to the legwork she put in during the pandemic.
“Sandra’s engaged with her clients and kept answering the phone,” says Brocia.