DENVER (KDVR) — The labor shortage is ongoing and really impacting small businesses in Colorado.

Proof Wine and Spirits in the RiNo neighborhood has been able to rebound post-pandemic and stay in business throughout the uncertainty. The latest labor shortage is yet another hurdle they’re facing.

Proof Wines is a specialty retail shop focusing on wineries and distilleries making responsibly made products.

Sarah Hauser, the general manager of Proof Wines, said she has a team of just four people including herself. So, she’s hiring and finding new employees post-pandemic has been tough.

Typically, a job posting would take them just a month or two to fill, now she says it’s taking at least six months.

They have been trying to hire a new assistant buyer for the last few months. 

“The talent pool has gotten smaller and you have a lot of people waiting for a while to make decisions. They’re looking, re-prioritizing and for us that’s hard, it’s painful because we really need them. We need them in the store to help us. It’s put a lot more on me, shifting around responsibilities and taking on some buying roles that I never necessarily had on my plate before,” Hauser said.

A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics report found that in Colorado there are two job openings for every person looking for work.

“It seems like priorities changed a little bit for people, maybe it made candidates reassess what they really wanted. Because in the beginning, we found a few really talented candidates and when they pulled out they said ‘oh, we’re going to go to San Francisco’ or ‘we’re going to spend more time with our family.’ In terms of those priorities, we’re open seven days a week, so we need candidates that want to work weekends and I noticed that some of them had hard boundaries [around that],” said Hauser.

As a business that works with 20 to 30 distributors a month, they’ve had to be creative while being understaffed, including embracing technology to help with their administrative back-office work so that their employees can focus on serving their customers.  

As far as hiring goes, they’re trying to be more open-minded with the job description and flexible in order to fill the jobs.