Pleasure Island business owners hold networking event, talk staffing issues

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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Pleasure Island business owners gathered together Wednesday night at the Sea Witch in Carolina Beach as they prepare for a busy season.

The Chamber of Commerce typically holds an after hours networking event monthly, but hasn’t been able to do so since the start of the pandemic.

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Board of Directors Chair Debbie Elliott says Carolina Beach and Kure Beach fared pretty well during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to vacationers.

Elliott and some business owners say many are now focusing on getting adequately staffed as summer 2021 approaches.

“I have heard and seen a lot of activity about hiring and trying to really staff up for our busy season,” Elliott said.

“We have a really great staff that’s been with us from the beginning so we’re feeling pretty comfortable, but a lot of my friends that own restaurants and have other businesses are hiring and struggling,” said Leeann Tluchowski, who opened Malama Cafe during the pandemic. “Several restaurants are closed for a day or two a week just to give their staff a break.”

Several elected officials were also at Wednesday’s event, and business owners got a chance to meet and discuss any issues they’re facing.

Elliott says the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce will be rebranding in 2021 with a new logo, tagline, and direction.