Company that makes sports apparel in Cedar Rapids struggling to find workers

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:14 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The return of fans at sporting events is generating more business for a Cedar Rapids company, leading to a new struggle for Bimm Ridder Sportswear: finding enough workers to fulfill demand.

Billy Heller’s 2020 started off on a high note, with a new job at Bimm Ridder Sportswear. Like most of us, the year went downhill fast.

“Just started getting in the groove and then a few months later, everybody but one artist got laid off,” Heller said. “So I was without a job, and that never happens.”

Heller started back at Bimm Ridder last month on the production side. It’s where they need the most help as the company recorded record sales last month.

“I don’t think they can keep up, if I’m being honest,” Heller said. “It’s crazy you know. We can use about 10 to 15 more people.”

Gary Ficken, Bimm Ridder’s president, said they lost 79% of revenue last year because of the pandemic. Now they are bouncing back with fans attending live sporting events.

“Now that the fans can come back, sit in the stadium, there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” Ficken said. “That’s led to increased sales for our teams.”

Ficken says they went from 34 full-time workers to just four during the height of the pandemic. Now, they’re trying to hire back workers but are struggling to fill out the roster.

“Somebody who has printed in the past,” Ficken said, describing an ideal candidate. “Or basically just mechanically inclined who would be able to pick up the work quick with training.”

People can stop by Bimm Ridder to apply. They are located at 817 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403.

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