Shorty’s Abruptly Shuts Down, Cites ‘Huge Shortage of Labor’

Due to a shortage of staff, owners say they couldn't deliver the experience they say they used to -- a problem that is affecting businesses throughout Superior and beyond.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The popular Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meats in Superior meats has abruptly shut down, just months after being featured again on the Food Network’s “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.”

The once bustling kitchen and busy dining area — now a dark, closed down building on Tower Avenue.

“It was just out of nowhere,” said Catrina Wuolu, a 20-year Superior resident.

Shorty’s has been open there on Tower Avenue since 2013, and the owners say they’ve had good business all that time.

But due to a shortage of staff, owners say they couldn’t deliver the experience they say they used to — a problem that is affecting businesses throughout Superior and beyond.

Besides the owner announcing he was working to sell the business to someone else back in 2019, the news caught many by surprise — a note posted on the front door and on Facebook announcing its immediate closure Tuesday.

People in the community and some others that would come from out of town expressed sadness on social media at seeing their favorite pizza or sandwich place on Tower close down after eight years.

“I loved going there for the slushy drinks. Slushy drinks, pizza was good. Yea it was, poutine the fries the gravy was great. I would frequent there,” Wuolu said.

In the post Shorty’s owners say:

Shorty’s has been very profitable every year since we opened in 2013. In fact, last year was the most profitable ever and 2021 has been great as well.

If you have been watching the news lately, you have heard that there is a huge shortage of labor at the moment and we came to the conclusion that if we can’t give you the level of service that you expect and deserve, then closing would be our best option.

This is not a bankruptcy. All of our staff and suppliers will be paid in full.

Taylor Pedersen, President and CEO of the Superior Douglas County Chamber Of Commerce, says the struggle to find workers is a multi-faceted problem businesses large and small are experiencing in the Twin Ports and nationwide.

“It has become an issue,” said Pedersen.

“We’re seeing more of our employers limit days of operation, limit hours of operation because they’re not able to find the employees that they need to staff normal, what they would be this time of year,” he said.

And as the community reels after the sudden closure service industry staff throughout Superior like Wuolu, a manager at Perkins. She said they’re ready to accept ex-Shorty’s staff who may need work.

“Everywhere is very short-staffed right now. We’re trying to open back up to our regular business hours and the lack of staff is crazy right now,” she said.

We tried reaching out to staff and the owner of Shorty’s for comment, but did not hear back.

In their note they say plan to auction off all the contents inside, and then put the building up for sale.

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