Orange County restaurants, retail shops looking to fill jobs as they reopen

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Friday, May 7, 2021
OC businesses looking to fill jobs as they reopen
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Restaurants and retail stores in Orange County are reopening at a furious pace, but many jobs still remain unfilled.

TUSTIN, Calif. (KABC) -- Restaurants and retail stores in Orange County are reopening at a furious pace, but many jobs still remain unfilled.

The District at Tustin Legacy hosted a hiring fair Thursday to help address an employment crisis retailers and restaurants are facing ahead of the state's large reopening plan on June 15.

"This came up when we found out that we were going to be opening everything June 15th, and we knew that everybody was opening, not just the District," said Shannon Campbell, the marketing director with the District at Tustin Legacy.

To get ahead of the competition, more than 20 tenants came out to find potential employees to add to their staff.

"I've been in this industry for 22 years. It's definitely one of the hardest hiring times and I don't know if that's based off of just where the economy is, where this industry suffered last year for the first time in the 22 years that I've done this," said Jennifer Sullivan, a manager at Bar Louie.

She lost a lot of her former employees to other industries and doesn't want to be training new employees when capacity jumps to 100%.

"I think once we get that go-ahead to jump fully, it'll be a nice big pop, a nice big just overwhelming push and I want to be ready for that," she said.

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Each restaurant or retailer has anywhere from five to 15 positions open. They hoped to close that gap at Thursday's event.

"To get re-established and get everybody retrained with some new recruits to prepare for June 15th essentially when business picks back up and we're able to operate at full capacity," said Christopher Stewart, the general manager of Bowlmor Lanes.

"It's time that we need to get back our ex-employees or the new employees, the co-workers to get this done in a good way. We miss our old days!" said Yalcin Aslan, the owner of Utopia restaurant.

From entry level positions to management, job seekers had plenty to choose from.

"They can meet with the different restaurants and stores, they can find out what positions are available, some are entry level, some are management positions. All in one place. It takes the intimidation out of actually having to walk into individual stores to apply," said Campbell.

The District says it also worked with the local Chamber of Commerce to vaccinate restaurant workers and eventually the retailers - another pro-active approach to make sure they were set up for success.

For more information on jobs at the District at Tustin Legacy, visit

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