Businesses across British Columbia are struggling to hire and retain staff in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and one shop owner has made a generous gesture to reward, and retain, employees.
Jean-Marc Pesant and his son took over the Huckleberry Mountain Market in the West Kootenay community of Christina Lake in June just before the population in the vacation hot-spot of about 1,000 full-time residents exploded to welcome thousands of regular summer visitors.
The market is the only grocery store around and Pesant watched his staff work long hours during an unprecedented global pandemic and decided to cut some cheques.
In total, he has handed out $30,000 in bonuses, with each employee's monetary amount based on their length of service and the hours they worked this summer.
Pesant, speaking to CBC's Daybreak South, said the last bonus he handed out almost brought the long-time employee on the receiving end to tears when she saw the amount.
And it's not just a one time thing.
"It will keep going year after year," said Pesant, speaking to CBC's Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
He added that the store does well in the summer as it has a wholesale liquor store and not much local competition.
Pesant said the gesture was also to show people in the community that the market is a good place to work.
"It is extremely difficult to hire people right now with free money floating around," said Pesant referring to government pandemic benefits.
And his plan seems to be working. Since word of the cheques got out, Pesant said he has received quite a few applications.