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Downtown businesses need more employees ahead of March Madness

Restaurant owners concerned about staffing
Posted at 12:16 AM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 00:16:51-05

INDIANAPOLIS — The earlier announcements that the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments are coming to Indianapolis was already big news. But now the announcement that fans will be allowed inside those games is nothing but music to the ears of Indy's business owners.

"To hear that now those student-athletes families are going to be able to come and watch them, that's huge," said Terry Anthony.

More people in Indy during the month of March means more traffic and more revenue for places like The Block Bistro, which recently opened and sits within walking distance of multiple hotels. Owner Terry Anthony says part of getting ready for an influx of customers is preparing to scale up.

"It's fluid. As the hospitality industry, we've been fluid all year long. So, we just wait and when they say go, we hit it at 100 miles running," Anthony said.

Ordering more food and drinks is the easy part. The hard part about going from serving modest crowds of customers to potentially thousands is finding employees to do the job.

"It's getting to a point where your asking people personally, 'Do you need a job?' It's tough. I didn't expect that especially knowing the hospitality industry has so much talent," Anthony said.

That same concern is echoed down the street at Jack's Donuts.

"People are staying at home, they don't want to come back to work. That's going to be an issue. That's going to be an issue for everybody downtown," said owner Chris Karnavas.

Is Jack's hiring?

"Jack's is hiring," Karnavas said.

And Terry at The Block is hiring too.

"Even if you just want to work for a month, come down here and talk to us, just be honest and tell us that," Anthony said.

Both Anthony and Karnavas say with fans on the way the priority now is to hire some Hoosiers.

"That's the goal, Cameron. That's the goal. We want to make lots of money down here. We need all the money we can get," Karnavas said.

The Block Bistro and Jack's Donuts are both located downtown on Market Street between Capitol Ave and Illinois Street. Both owners say if you are looking for a job, stop in and see them.