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Ted Drewes' Grand Ave. location on ice amid staffing shortages

Travis Dillon says they have about 60 employees this summer which is not enough to cover both locations. The Chippewa shop is open for walk-ups.

ST. LOUIS — It's one of the coolest landmarks in St. Louis, but Ted Drewes owners say they can't open their Grand location due to staffing shortages.

"I started out at the Grand Avenue store and love the place. I really really want to get it open, but the dilemma I have is that I barely have enough people to staff this store," owner Travis Dillon said standing outside the Chippewa location. "I just can’t operate the other one and be efficient in both."

Dillon said they're hiring as quickly as possible, but he's noticed they're not getting as many candidates and those who do apply come with less experience.

"The staff I have now are so different than what I've had in the past," Dillon said. "My experience level is so low compared to the inexperienced staff, and so we are spending a lot of time training and trying to do to get people up to speed. We have some great people. They're smart and sharp. They're going to learn. It just takes us some time, but we will get there."

A lot of traditional summer industries are struggling for workers.

St. Charles County pools started requiring proof of residency during their lifeguard shortage. 

St. Louis County raised lifeguard wages to $15 per hour plus bonuses. And they're covering the costs of training and certification.

Six Flags in St. Louis is offering up to $18 an hour and $500 signing bonuses for Hurricane Harbor lifeguards.

Still, some customers like Sedina Zuko say they didn't realize the other location was closed.

"I've been living in St. Louis for 15 years, and we've never been to that one," she says after picking up her order at the Chippewa shop. "I've only come here so it's good to hear that they are opening another one... or that it's opening."

Dillon said they're getting a lot of questions about the other spot, and he's optimistic it'll be back soon.

"I'm going to try to get it open still this year. That's my goal. I just don't know when."

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