LE CENTER, Minn. (FOX 9) - The sweet treats rolling off the production line at Maud Borup's manufacturing facility in Le Center, Minnesota have proven to be quite pandemic proof. While sales are up 75% this year, the company is currently down 100 employees.
"We’ve sold Valentine’s Day, we’ve sold Easter, we are into Halloween 2022," says Maud’s communications spokesperson, Karen Edwards. "Our problem is not that we don’t have enough orders. In fact, we have so many we've had to turn business down."
Owner Christine Lantinen says with the worker shortage, and unemployment in Le Center sitting at just 3%, she’s now looking to start a daycare for her 200 current employees and has tried busing people to her hometown if they are willing to work. Since last year, Maud has increased hourly pay 36%, offers hiring and referral bonuses, yet still few people are applying for jobs.
"In this climate, we are always trying to think outside the box," says Lantinen. "We are constantly thinking about what our workforce is comprised of and how do we market to those people."
Last week, Lantinen asked lawmakers to think outside the box as well when she testified virtually in front of the U.S. House Small Business Committee sub-chaired by Representative Dean Philips.
"The fact of the matter is I don’t care who is responsible, I want to find solutions," Phillips says.
Lantinen's ideas include expanding opportunities for new immigrants looking for work and trying to entice retirees who have left the workforce to come back.
"How do we appeal to those people? Can we offer them incentives? Can we offer they can work tax free up until a certain dollar amount or up until a certain amount of time?"
In the meantime, Maud is now having to turn to help outside the U.S. due to supply chain challenges. Representatives from a chocolate company in Columbia visited Wednesday, after Maud’s U.S.-based manufacture went from a 4-week lead time to a 6-month lead time for the critical ingredient overnight.
"It’s a very challenging year, much more challenging than last year," Lantinen says.
For more information or to apply https://maudborup.com/.