How Southwood Deals With Labor Issues
Margaret Schulte, President and CEO of Southwood Garden Center, has had to manage through the labor crunch like most companies in the green industry, particularly finding labor on the landscape and growing sides of the business.
“It has been hard to grow the landscape program to any extent because there is no one to hire and the restrictions on the guestworker visas have stymied some of the plans we had for that area,” Schulte says. “We’ve had to change, in some cases, where we put laborers, for example, having more of our full-time people work on the landscape side than we would prefer.”
On the growing side of the operation, General Manager Joe Ward runs into problems with availability, especially of technically skilled individuals and people with horticulture degrees.
“We use cross-departmental labor sharing wherever we can,” Ward says. “The guys that are working on the landscape side might work on the receiving side in February. We try to have a good labor-sharing pool so we can be more competitive.”