5th Ave businesses want to hire people in downtown Naples

Help wanted signs could be seen in the windows of businesses on 5th Avenue S in downtown Naples Friday.

It seems like nearly every business on the street is looking to hire, especially after an uneventful job fair. The hope was jobs and job seekers would meet and strike a deal at an event held at Inn on 5th.

The fact that didn’t really happen is bad news for business owners and managers — who are trying to keep up with a steady stream of customers.

“Our place, our restaurant is hiring various positions,” said Ledia Metaj, the owner of Roma Bistro Pizzeria. “We’re hiring pizza makers, cooks, dishwashers and hostess positions.”

Hardly anyone is taking businesses up on a job offer. Morgan Brooks, who works at Mare Blu, sees it happen almost every day.”

“We have people coming in and asking for a job, and she’ll talk to them, and a lot of times like I said, they won’t come back,” Brooks said. “We’ll schedule something, and they won’t show up, so it’s really frustrating.”

Fifth Avenue South Business Improvement District stepped in to help, with a job fair Thursday and Friday at Inn on 5th. But when only a handful of people showed up, the event went virtual.

“I came to the job fair today,” Robert Angell said.

Angell is one of the few who went in person looking for work. He walked into Inn on 5th with high hopes.

“Absolutely. I was looking forward to meet somebody,” Angell said. “Meet and greet people. But it is the hospitality business, and hospitality business is not, you know emails. It’s not online. It’s one-on-one, in person.”

Tourist season starts back up again in October, and 5th Avenue S is traditionally a hot spot. Business owners told us they’re not sure how long they can push the employees they have.

Angell hopes the business improvement district won’t give up quite yet. He knows 5th Ave. needs help.

“I think that we should have more job fairs, and you know as people come in and maybe schedule on their off hours after lunch, from three to five between lunch and dinner,” Angell said.

Reporter:Emma Heaton
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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