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Sturgis businesses stay alive and well during staffing shortages

Staff and supply shortages are a big concern around the country but businesses in Sturgis are looking healthy for the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Staff and supply shortages are a big concern around the country but businesses in Sturgis are...
Staff and supply shortages are a big concern around the country but businesses in Sturgis are looking healthy for the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.(Gillian Trudeau)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:21 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) -All around the country, businesses are struggling with staff shortages, and the Black Hills are no exception.

But fortunately, businesses are set for the 10 day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that kicks off on August 6.

“We’ve just been blessed with all the folks that we expected to be here, we might’ve been a month late getting them arranged, but we’re good,” said Rod Woodruff, owner of the Buffalo Chip.

“I think we’ve been luckier than most, we really made a huge effort really early on last winter to try to attract extra staff,” said Dean Kinney, president, and CEO of Homeslice which owns Loud American.

The Buffalo Chip and the Loud American credit their staff, both year-round staff and seasonal, wanting to be involved in the rally.

Woodruff says he thinks the secret to receiving the number of applicants he has this year is due to the motorcycle community across the nation. He says with motorcycle-related events, riders have already heard of the Buffalo Chip and want to be a part of it.

Even though they feel confident with their staffing numbers going into the rally, they still experienced a delay or even a struggle finding staff.

“I think maybe people’s attitudes to start with was that they expected it to be tough because they heard about it everywhere,” said Woodruff.

With such a large event as the Sturgis rally, both businesses are still welcoming more applicants.

Kinney says he usually increases his staff to around 300 employees for the rally, compared to 100 people during the summer season and 40 people in the winter months.

“Our people are under a lot of pressure, this is the biggest tourism season we’ve had by a long shot, no other year is even close,” said Kinney.

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