MA Ice Cream Shop has one hour lines as it struggles to retain staff

  • An ice cream parlor in Massachusetts has hour-long lines outside because there aren’t enough staff.
  • The owner said three out of six new workers had recently quit, leaving him understaffed.
  • He added that it has been difficult to properly train staff during the busiest season of the year.

Customers lined up for an hour outside a Massachusetts ice cream shop because the owner couldn’t find enough staff.

Mashpee-based Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlor had wait times over an hour over Memorial Day weekend in May, when the store had a staff of five, owner Mark Lawrence told Insider. .

In early June, Lawrence managed to add six people to his roster. Three of those six new hires quit in recent weeks, leaving him with a smaller workforce, he said. Two of them didn’t like the job, while the other never came back or called back, he added.

Now there are about eight people picking up ice, but Lawrence said there were still long lines outside Polar Cave ice that could last 45 minutes.

Lawrence said it had been difficult to properly train his staff during the busiest season of the year and he offered “on the fly” training at best.

“There’s so much more to ‘just picking up’ ice cream that we’re not at full speed and the lines are still long,” Lawrence said. The work is much harder than people think, which makes hiring difficult, he added.

Since the start of the pandemic, Polar Cave has suffered from a labor shortage, like many other small and large businesses in the United States. As the big resignation took its toll, many employees left their jobs due to low wages, few benefits and poor working conditions.

Lack of workers in the pandemic forced Lawrence to reduce Polar Cave’s hours of operation from seven days a week to four. Hiring a handful of staff means the store can open five days a week, he said.

Although he has three other employees, Lawrence was aware that some staff will be leaving in August to return to college or to their home countries.

“Last year we closed the last week of August due to a lack of staff,” he said. “Just pushing the box on the road is no solution to staffing issues.”

The Massachusetts minimum wage is $14.25 an hour, according to the state government. Lawrence said he pays Polar Cave staff $20 an hour on average. No one earns less than $15 an hour, and employees can receive bonuses throughout the year, he added.

Lawrence, who works every day the store is open, said it was “unrealistic” for him to pay his staff $25 an hour and provide benefits such as health insurance and housing, so that he runs a small business.

“There is a limit to the price someone is willing to pay for an ice cream cone!” he said.

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