Local businesses grapple with record level of inflation

Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -Inflation is at a 40-year high, increasing the costs of everything from clothes, flights, and food.

We talked to local business owners who say they’re struggling to stay afloat. Our local restaurants and businesses say they have no other choice because they must try and turn a profit at the end of the day.

“Small businesses are some of the hardest-hit, unfortunately,” said Ashley Lee, managing partner.

‘Chicken Fingers’ has been open for about four years. Each year the cost of goods has gone up. But now, it’s more than ever.

The U.S. inflation calculator says food prices rose 7.9 percent since last year, 8.6 percent for groceries, and 6.8 percent higher for eating at food locations.

Adam Lee, owner-operator said: “As of yesterday, chicken prices were up, for my product, over 48% in January.”

They finally increased their prices by about 20 percent in December because they had to. Now with rising gas prices, they’re facing a new challenge. From staff to operating costs, owning a food truck used to be cheaper than having a brick-and-mortar store.

“It used to cost me $45 to fill the truck up; now it’s $75. I’ve got to sell an extra 10, 15, 20 plates of food to cover that cost,” said Lee.

Something all too familiar for ‘Cozi Cup Coffee.’ Jana Farrell put her coffee camper into gear about a year ago, but things have been anything but a cup of tea.

“When I first started, supplies were probably about half the cost,” said Farrell.

She thought a camper would be cheaper and able to go anywhere. But it has its mile limits. Either she must turn down the business, set a time minimum, or a gas charge to make it worth it.

Both businesses say they started doing what they do because they love serving the community, but they need our support. The gas tax suspension bill has made its way through the House and is headed to the Senate. Governor Kemp says if it passes, he plans to sign it. It would temporarily suspend the 29 cents per gallon tax.

“I’ve tried to keep my head down and do my thing and keep it together, but it is hard,” she said.

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