The Hammer and Wikan convenience store on main street in downtown Petersburg (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

The Petersburg family company celebrating 100 years in business this year has closed one of its stores and cut hours at another because of a shortage of workers.

Hammer and Wikan has closed its convenience store on main street in Petersburg and has also reduced hours at its grocery store.

Manager Jim Floyd said the company is short on workers at both sites. The decision to close the convenience store comes during what is normally its busy season.

“Yes this is definitely the time of the year where it is most profitable and actually does a lot of sales, but we felt that the grocery store is the priority currently,” Floyd said. “We are actually having problems staffing that location also and had to limit the hours but for the community it’s a priority.”

Hammer and Wikan also has a hardware store in Petersburg. The company is celebrating its 100th year in business. And the closed convenience store is on the site of the original store built by its two founders. Floyd noted the workforce shortage isn’t only with Hammer and Wikan but is something different in 2021.

“It’s particular to this year,” Floyd said. “And so I’ve done a lot of phone calls and research and found out it’s not just Petersburg, it’s the nation, it’s Alaska and the rest of the United States. A lot of people were getting extra money for unemployment even though Alaska ended it (June 12th) we haven’t seen an influx of people applying. And if you look at the paper you’ll see that there’s a lot of businesses in town currently trying to hire.”

Hammer and Wikan is running its own newspaper ads seeking workers for both full and part-time jobs. Floyd said the company is looking to hire a new manager and workers to staff the convenience store and hopes to be able to reopen it.

Hammer and Wikan is an underwriter of KFSK in Petersburg where this story was produced.