Surplus of summer rental vacation homes, seasonal jobs along Jersey shore

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Small businesses along the Jersey shore are starting to open up shop for the summer, but finding enough seasonal staff has proven difficult.

"Horrible." That's how Ava Okuniewicz, who owns Ocean Grove Bake Shoppe, describes the time she has had finding new employees.

"We put it out there, they call, they make an appointment, and no one shows up," Okuniewicz said.

Okuniewicz said it has happened at least a dozen times.

She has been in the middle of Ocean Grove for 17 years and pays well above the current minimum wage of $15 an hour.

Bruce Winland, the owner of Weaser's Ices, is living the same nightmare.

"No one's applying," Winland said. "To run all these trucks I probably need 16, about, for the summer."

Winland has owned Weaser's for 40 years. On his office wall, he has pictures of his beloved employees going back to 1997. Many have gone on to be lawyers and doctors or successful businesspeople.

"That was always the push that people liked, it was, 'I work a four day week, I work four 10-hour days and I'm good for the week and I get three days off to play," Windland said.

There's also an increase in weekly summer rentals available for vacations down the shore this summer. This could help small businesses generate some needed cash flow once they've rented.

Anyone interested in vacationing along the shore should check local listings and smaller apps to save money on fees and taxes that accrue when booking through larger online companies.

"You may be able to find one at a reasonable price because of the surplus," Jacob Smith of Ward Wight Sotheby's Realty said. "(They're taking) planes or going to other towns or doing things they couldn't do the last two to three years."

Smith said the increase in vacation rentals along the shore could be due to so many people traveling out of state for the summer.

Smith advised travelers to be flexible with the dates and the towns that they're looking at.

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