Fair vendors working even harder to meet demand amid staffing shortages

New York State Fair

GEDDES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Many small businesses were lucky enough to financially survive the COVID-19 pandemic, but now the challenge is staffing shortages.

Serving thousands at the 2021 New York State Fair for 18-days straight only enhances that challenge and makes the task much harder.

Nick Sanford, owner of ‘Toss N’ Fire Wood-Fired Pizza, is juggling a smaller staff and even bigger menu this year.

Sanford said hiring for the fair is always a challenge, especially with college kids going back to school, but add every hardship that comes with a global pandemic on top of trying to find a full staff and it took longer than usual for Sanford to hire.

That staff he has hired isn’t quite where it was back in 2019.

“We were fully staffed all summer and then we lost all of our college kids this week, but we were planning for that and wanted to make sure we could make it work,” said Sanford. “And we’re making it work, probably a little bit tighter than we normally would be, but we’re ready to do it.”

The Toss & Fire truck at the fairgrounds is always staffed with five to six people. That’s on top of some of Sanford’s other trucks working other venues.

Sanford said he puts in about 80 to 100 hours a week during the fair, but says its worth it to have his pizza ideas come to life.

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