West St. Louis County business seek workers, some travel hours to fill the demand

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Some businesses in west St. Louis County say there’s a worker shortage.

Floyd Harris travels two hours each way from his home in St. Louis to his job as a dishwasher at the Ellisville Pasta House.

“Get on the 90 Hampton at Lillian and Goodfellow, get on the train from there, then the bus again; so two buses and a train,” he said.

But finding workers who are willing to travel or those based in the area can be a struggle.

“There is definitely a notion within west county that parents don’t want their kids to work or they don’t have to work. I don’t know if that’s necessarily true,” said Lori Kelling, West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce. “I just think it’s that the time after the kids get home from school and do their homework, there’s no time to go out and be able to find a job.”

Kelling said Greek Kitchen closed down in Ellisville since they couldn’t find enough reliable help. She said several other businesses have voiced similar concerns.

Pasta House Manager Josh Shepperd said he recently had some trouble finding candidates but eventually filled those positions.

“I know a lot of places around here were having problems. The same kind of problems and places have been shutting down and stuff like that but we eventually got it together,” he said.

But when a business depends on its employees and those employees depend on public transportation, there’s a lot riding on the line.

There’s a list of current job openings on the West St. Louis County Chamber of Commerce website.