MISSOULA — The holiday season is sneaking up on businesses across Montana.
Christy Wich is the owner of Black Cat Bake Shop in Missoula.
Black Cat opened 25 years ago, and is now sending festive treats to customers across America. They add at least 20 items to their menu this time of year.
"It is right around the corner here, I always say it is like a freight train, and it is coming straight for us," Wich said
Wich said they hire six to eight new employees every year for the holidays, because they have to start making their special Christmas cakes in mid-November.
Kathy and Tom Dove have been coming to the shop for years, and said they send the cake out for Christmas. They visit the shop so often, workers named their drink order after Kathy.
Dove said, "Our favorite thing is probably the staff, the people that work here are remarkably professional, friendly, open and they remember our names."
But Wich said she’s having a harder and harder time finding reliable people to hire. She said more than once this week she’s had potential employees not even show up for interviews.
The unemployment rate in Missoula is one of the lowest in the state at 2.7 percent.
“That's what makes it difficult, you get to a point where so few people are unemployed that those are looking for work and those that are most qualified are ones that are already working."
Wich said she just needs people that can help prepare, bake, and mail holiday orders.
The overall unemployment in Montana as of September 2019 was 3.3 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent.