Despite seasonal hiring challenges, business owners have high hopes on the Jersey Shore

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SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. – New York City and New Jersey beaches open this weekend for the unofficial start of summer. 

CBS2’s Leah Mishkin went to Seaside Heights to see how businesses along the shore are gearing up for the holiday weekend. 

Last year shore towns were struggling to find seasonal employees and that impacted some of their bottom lines because they had to shorten their days.

The owner of Kohr’s Original Custard Stores Gregory Kohr says hiring for this summer has been better, but it’s still a challenge.

“It’s everybody that I talk to. Everyone is having a problem. I don’t know really what the cause is. Before I attributed to all the unemployment that they were getting, the extra $300. I can stay home and I’ll make more money,” Kohr said. 

Last summer, he was down about 10% in profits compared to pre-pandemic numbers. They had to shorten days since there was a struggle to find seasonal employees. 

Despite hiring, Kohr is optimistic for this summer. He’s hoping to make the same profits he was seeing pre-pandemic, or better. And he has high hopes for Memorial Day Weekend. He says it’s one of the biggest weekends of the season.

“The pandemic is definitely less than what it was last year. The fear level is a lot less than what it was, and we have the advantage that we’re outside,” Kohr said. 

And in New Jersey, you not only have the beach, but entry to state parks will be free all summer, starting this weekend. 

“Very excited to be back,” said Cedar Grove resident Tina Rendeiro. 

It’s the first weekend Rendeiro and her family are staying at their Shore home. 

“Great to see people coming back. It’s starting to fill up again,” Rendeiro said. 

Locals and first-timers are coming to Seaside Heights. 

“I’m originally from Brooklyn, so this is new to me,” said Phil Gargiulo. 

“Minors are usually until 9 o’clock, and they can only work eight hour sifts. So it’s very tough. We need those adults, or 18+, that can work 12 hours or less that that, but work until midnight,” said Maria Saltzman of Casino Pier. 

Saltzman says they’re also looking for some more employees, but the situation is better than last year. 

Both businesses are anticipating a good season. 

“Memorial Day is when we kind of start opening almost full time. The water park opens this weekend too, so we’re hoping for sunny skies,” Saltzman said. 

Leah Mishkin contributed to this report. 

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