The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Molly Adamson
Staff writer 

Clovis job fair intended to help businesses recover


Last updated 5/3/2021 at 10:52am

As of Wednesday, 41.6% of New Mexico's eligible residents had received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Once the state hits 60 percent, it will abandon its color-coded system, reopening completely — welcome news for restaurants and other local businesses that have been hit hard during the pandemic.

But for now, area businesses are still struggling.

In a press release issued April 28, the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce reported many businesses and restaurants nationwide and locally are in desperate need of employees. “Without sufficient help, many of them are struggling to stay afloat — and a number of local businesses have already closed permanently,” said Rachel Forrester, the Chamber's communications manager.

That's why the Chamber, the Clovis Economic Development Corp., the city of Clovis, and the Department of Workforce Solutions are teaming up with the Eastern Plains Council of Governments to hold an Urgent Hiring Job Fair at the Clovis Civic Center from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on May 12. EPCOG is the primary organizer and financial backer of the fair.

Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos said she feels for local business owners.

“All these businesses have suffered so much during COVID, and now we're at a point where we can open, and they don't have enough employees.”

Leal's Mexican Food restaurant, owned by Laura Leal, is one of the businesses that will be at the job fair.

“Right now every restaurant, not only in Clovis but across the state and I'm sure across the nation, is needing help,” Leal said. “We can't even operate at 75% capacity right now because … in my case we need more servers (and) more hosts.”

Leal's has had a somewhat unique experience during the pandemic. Leal in September tried to operate solely from the restaurant's Mabry Drive location, an attempt to combat losses from the pandemic. She put the Prince Street location up for sale, but no buyer was found. Now, Leal said she sees that as a kind of blessing from God.

In February, the pipes burst at the restaurant's Mabry Drive location. So Leal moved operations back to Prince Street.

Leal said the Mabry Drive restaurant still needs a lot of work, but she's hopeful she can open both Leal's locations in the coming months — if she can hire enough help.

“With this job fair we're hoping that a lot of folks come through and that there'll be enough come through to help all the restaurants to continue to fight through this,” she said.


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