By Katy Podbielski, Workforce Hiring Intern
Nestled between the beer gardens and tiny tech offices in SOMA lies an old-fashioned art you’d be surprised to discover. Biro & Sons is a silversmith business that was started by Alex Biro, who learned the trade while serving as an apprentice in Hungary during the early 20th century. After moving his family to the states, Biro locked down a production space on Folsom and 8th in 1977—they’ve been producing high-quality silver pieces for Bay Area hotels, restaurants and companies ever since.
Rick and Martin Biro are the “sons” currently running the business operations. Martin explained how the demand for silver has changed over the years, and how the size of their team has fluctuated accordingly. “With any small business, there are ups and down. At one point we were down to two employees.”
Silversmithing isn’t an industry boasting many jobs—the skills associated with the work aren’t taught in high schools and rarely at community colleges. With a shrinking pool of potential employees, Alex explained to me how hiring at Biro & Sons has become a time-consuming process and an expensive investment. “We have to look for people who are reliable; who aren’t just going to pick up and leave after a couple of months.”
After too many employee transitions, Rick and Martin decided they needed to get serious about hiring someone local. The Biro boys reached out to SFMade hiring manager Claire Michaels for some help, and got what they were looking for.
The first step was posting an open apprenticeship position on the SFMade job board: a public job board that lists positions also sent directly to job developers at community organizations throughout the city who work to place local people into local jobs. Claire also assisted Rick and Martin in writing a questionnaire to send to interested applicants, helped phone-screen people who were serious about the position, and then passed those approved candidates on to Rick and Martin for in-person interviews.
They hired the first person they spoke with: Marcus, a 20-year old San Francisco native. Prior to working for Biro, Marcus was working at a junk collecting company. “I left because I wanted a career. It’s been great working here.”
Marcus has been with Biro & Sons for seven months, and everyone is happy. The team can now focus their efforts on producing the beautiful silver pieces they’ve been making for nearly a century.
To view more job opportunities at SFMade companies:
To post an open position or to inquire about the hiring services SFMade offers:
Contact Claire Michaels, hiring manager