ATLANTIC BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) — With students leaving their summer jobs to head back to school, small businesses are struggling to fill their spots.

Shark Shack in Atlantic Beach and Salty Sistas in Sneads Ferry are just two businesses in Eastern North Carolina with a number of empty job positions, causing them to cut back hours. 

Shark Shack typically has around nine people working each shift, but with classes starting up soon, they’re down to five or six, at most. 

“This year, we’re probably saying goodbye to three or four of the employees heading back to school,” said owner of Shark Shack, Taylor Thomas. “Which is something we’re used to seeing every year.”

Due to the small staff, they wanted to get input from locals on what hours they’d like to see them be open.

“This week is a trial basis. We’re doing Tuesday and Wednesday open for lunch from 11 am to 3 pm, and then we’re going to do Thursday, Friday and Saturday 4 pm to 8 pm,” said Thomas. 

“We’re always closed Sundays and Mondays, but hopefully it works for our locals, our out-of-town guests, and for our employees pretty well.”

Salty Sistas usually has around 40 employees working either in the kitchen or on the floor. But with around 11 students going off to school and other employees leaving with the summer coming to an end, it presents a similar problem for them.

“It got to the point where we have people doing doubles, almost triples, at work,” said owner of Salty Sistas, Jeanette Lopez.

There are only around 13 people working at the restaurant for now, causing them to make the difficult decision to change their hours. 

“We’re gonna go ahead and close right now for lunch, except for, you know, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and just keep our nighttime,” said Lopez. 

Shark Shack is looking to hire a full-time steward to get them through the rest of the season. Salty Sistas has multiple positions open for those interested.