'Tis the season for employment opportunities

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY, Ga -- Local flower shops, garden centers and gift shops are gearing up for their holiday season open houses, but perhaps more importantly, seasonal hiring of temporary workers is also cranking up.

Place on The Pointe co-managers Elyse Brown and Honey Bolton said Friday that within the past week the shop had added one full-time and five part-time workers.

"They'll be taking up the slack of our extra holiday hours," Brown said. "We'll still be closing our doors at the same time, but we'll be working an extra four hours a night doing engraving, imprinting, embroidery and gift wrapping -- lots of gift wrapping."

"The extra hours are purely production hours," Bolton said. "We'll spend almost three hours each night wrapping gifts alone."

Just a stone's throw down Westgate Drive, Hadden's Flowers and Gifts is looking to add a part-time floral designer.

"We always add on extra help during the holiday seasons -- Christmas, Valentine's and Mother's Day," Shop owner Anne Gray said. "We usually hire the least at Christmas because it's a longer season. We hire the most on Valentine's Day, mainly drivers, but it's usually just for a week. We also decorate a lot of homes during the holiday season and we need people to man the shop while we're out.

"It's really a common practice among florists -- or at least it should be if they have a good business."

Area employment agencies are also seeing an increase in calls.

"Oh, we are definitely seeing an uptick in business," Bonnie Jefferson of Manpower Temporary Services said. "Over the past few years this has been a slow time of the month for us, but we've been a lot busier than in the past few holiday seasons.

"I am hoping it's an indicator of an improving economy."

Jenna Bender, a staffing supervisor at Kelly Services, has only been on the job since September, but said she has also noticed a surge in calls to her office.

"We're always getting a lot of calls," Bender said, "but here lately there has been a definite influx of calls looking for people."

Stanley Clay, branch manager for Labor Finders, says he too has noticed positive trends.

"Yes, we've been getting more calls, they started in late September," Clay, who has been with the company for 10 years, said. "We had a boom in 2006, then declines in "07, '08 and '09, but things have really been picking up this fall and I think that is an encouraging sign for our economy."