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How Denver businesses are using creative ways to bring in new employees

The Denver Milk Market is one of many businesses preparing for All-Star Week while experiencing staffing shortages.

DENVER — Tens of thousands of people are headed to Denver for Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game. 

The big crowd means businesses need extra hands to fill orders and provide good customer service — and it's also requiring many employees to expand their roles.

"If you can't find me in the market, I’m over here making pizzas,” sad Denver Milk Market General Manager Ashley Weinschenk.

A typical morning in the pizzeria involves getting the dough ready at the shop and preparing several other restaurants before opening. Weinschenk often jumps in to help wherever employees may be struggling.

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The Denver Milk Market, owned by the Bonanno Concepts Restaurant Group, is the closest food hall to Coors Field, and they're gearing up for a busy weekend while working with bare minimum staffing.

“Right now, we’re kind of training people as we find them," Weinschenk said. "I have people from my apartment building coming in to help out. So they’re going to be getting trained in the next two days and kind of throw them to the wolves." 

Finding employees at her apartment isn’t a part of her job description, but it’s what’s needed to succeed.

"There are hundreds of people that live there so a lot of them don't have jobs, and I was just offering an opportunity for them to come here and work and make money and have a life again outside of what we've been through in the past year,” Weinschenk said.

They're currently operating at about 45% and trying to find staffing anyway they can.

“The constant change that we’re doing, just evolving,” Owner Frank Bonanno said.

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The hope is to get back to pre-COVID-19 numbers.

"Around 3,500 to 4,000 people a day," Bonanno said. "So, if we can get back to that, that would be a huge win for us." 

He’s not quite sure if that’ possible due to a number of reasons.

“One is there is not a tremendous amount of people to hire right now…there’s a big lack of office employees who typically on game days at what not be just coming out of the office early to go to a bar to catch a couple of innings before they head home, and we don’t have that right now," Bonanno said. "And I don’t know in the foreseeable future when we will have that." 

Regardless of the traffic, they take pride in going the extra mile to meet a looming demand in service.

"Denver is ready, we are ready to host this MLB All-Star game, and I think we're going to put our best foot forward as Denver always does,” Bonanno said.