Labour shortage forces closure of Penticton, B.C. pizzeria

The ongoing labour shortage has led to the closure of a popular pizzeria in Penticton.

When a Godfather-themed pizzeria opened in 2019, the owner said he didn’t expect to be closing his doors permanently just two years later.

Don Gigliotti, the owner of Corleone’s Pizzeria in Penticton, B.C. said he was unable to find employees, which led to the official closure on Monday.

“I put a lot of sweat into this place, and it’s hard to see it go but it’s not worth it for me, the aggravation, to go through this,” said Gigliotti.

“I’ve been on Workplace, I’ve been on Hiring Penticton, I’ve been on Indeed, I’ve had a help wanted sign for the last six months and I’ve got a couple resumes.”

The pizzeria only had a couple of staff members — not enough to cover open shifts or when someone called in sick.

“It wasn’t that I had 10 staff that I could rotate them, I had two and it was hard. For six months I couldn’t find people,” added Gigliotti.

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The Penticton Chamber of Commerce said that they’ve been hearing the same concern from local business owners who have been scrambling to find employees.

“We’ve been seeing this for a number of years now. It has been getting harder and harder every year for our businesses to find the talent that they need to operate at the capacity they are able to,” said Penticton Chamber of Commerce president Jonthan McGraw.

“What we are feeling at the Chamber is constant concern from our members and even from those who aren’t members.”

McGraw added that the labour crunch isn’t new to the pandemic, and he believes it has been building up for years.

“Obviously some of it is relating to housing. We have been very vocal about the need for additional housing to help support the labour pool but it even goes beyond that,” said McGraw.

The labour shortage isn’t unique to Penticton. An update published by the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association estimates that the industry is short between 35, 000 and 40,000 employees.

“It’s alarming, isn’t it. Luckily it is province-wide, spread out but we certainly know it’s here. We’re feeling it, we’re hearing it from our members, and we even have directors on our board they’re worried about the upcoming summer season and how it will affect them,” said McGraw.

“In our community and the food and beverage industry, May, June, July, August is key earning time for them. That’s what pays their bills and if they can’t be operating at full capacity then that will impact them going into the winter.”

Although the pizzeria has closed its doors, Gigliotti is hopeful sister location Caffè d’Italia will remain open.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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