If the large number of help wanted signs in the store front windows along Main Street in downtown Huntington are any indication of an economy on the rise, it could be safe to say that the .
Yet a few empty stores show that an economic recovery is not quite complete.
Business conditions at the at the corner of Main and Wall streets seems to epitomize the overall feel of what downtown Huntington store owners seem to be experiencing.
“Business is good. People like my food but the economy has been the problem for the last seven or eight years,” Tabassum Ali said on Tuesday.
Like many store owners along Main Street, Ali posted a help wanted sign in his front window a few weeks ago hopeful of increased business during the summer months.
He said the response to his sign has been good so far, but he's still looking.
”Job conditions are pretty tough,” said Ali, looking to hire two new employees with restaurant experience to his small staff. “You can get good people working for you because there is a lot of choice, the only problem is there is no business.”
Ali said the majority of his many applicants have been high school teens looking for work, but he has seen job seekers of all types apply — even college graduates who have been out of work for extended periods of time, even years.
Gearing up for his second summer in the restaurant business after opening about 16 months ago, Ali, who ran a photo photo store for 19 years at the same location, expects business to improve during his second year of operation.
He said the sign will stay up for another week.
Needing more than just a help wanted sign in the front to attract potential employees, the owner of Ravagh Persian Grill on Main Street said the competition to get good applicants has been a challenge.
With his newly-opened restaurant located in the middle of a long block on Main Street, restaurant owner Matt Tazaria said some of the better applicants are sometimes hired by other stores who are looking for help before they reach his store, located near the middle of the block.
"If you're talking about the sign, not too many people have walked in from just the sign. Most of my applicants have come from Craigslist," said Tazaria.
But just a few doors down, the economic recession has taken it's toll on on Main Street — an indication that economic recovery is not complete. No help wanted sign there, just a large store closing sale banner.
"Business has been terrible for about three years," said Frank Petriello, a manager there. "We had to stop the bleeding."
Petriello said hiring was was not problem, just slow sales.
But scattered among the few empty storefronts that currently exist downtown in Huntington, the help wanted signs far out number any sign of closings.
With two recent grand openings on Main Street hope for a recovery exists.
After posting a sign in the window, Daniel Lim, owner of on Main Street, will be taking the sign down soon.
"I found someone," said Lim, who needed just six days to get six applicants from a field including college graduates, retired senior citizens, middle-aged people and a few younger applicants, all looking for part-time work.
Lim said business has been slow, but he still needs extra help.
Just down from Village Flowers, restaurant on Main is hiring.
And at on Main, the story isn't a whole lot different than from the rest.
"We've had about 15 applicants in about two weeks," said a salesman at Renarts shoes on Main Street who has been fielding applications from the help wanted sign in the window. "Business is the same, but a lot of people need jobs."