El Sombrero, an authentic Mexican restaurant in Holts Summit, will be closing today just eight months after opening.
Owner Felipé Fernandez said the business had enough customers to sustain itself, but he could not hire enough help to keep the restaurant running. Instead, he was working from "open to close," rarely being able to spend time with his children unless they came to visit him.
"My wife, she's complaining about me not giving enough attention for her and the kids," Fernandez said. "I don't want to put my family in jeopardy. I just decided that it'll be my best interest to close the place."
Fernandez said it was difficult to find people he trusted to manage the business. He said at one point he thought he had a worker who would be able to, but found she was stealing from the restaurant and customers.
"I tried to hire local people," Fernandez said. "I mean, they don't really want to work. They come over here and say they want to work, but once I hire them they wouldn't stay."
Although El Sombrero did not pan out, Fernandez said he is considering starting a salvage yard in the area but wants to find good people to help first.
City Administrator Rick Hess called the restaurant's closing "very distressing," noting how much work Fernandez had put into its opening.
"Like with any city, businesses open and businesses close," said Hess. "It's a joy when they open and it's sad when they close."
Hess said he knows it can be "difficult to find good help" in the area, hearing the same sentiment from other city administrators and county officials.
"I don't understand why," Hess said. "I don't know it it's that there's a lack of people to work or nobody wants to work in the restaurant food business."