‘Prices are rising fast’: Small business owners make tough choices

As inflation hit another 40-year high this week and gasoline prices have risen nearly $1.00 a gallon since last month, small business owners are wondering how to make ends meet.

Brandon Brown, owner of Brown’s Heating and Air in Virginia, said his company only raises prices once or twice a year, but now it can happen monthly.

“Prices are rising rapidly,” Brown told the Washington Examiner. “We raised prices four times last year. Now we’re getting notices that equipment prices will go up 8-10% with just one month’s notice. Before, it was 6 to 8 months warning.

Brown said one of the most challenging aspects of rising prices is how they affect the ability of small businesses to support their local communities.

“Small businesses are the backbone of local communities,” Brown added. “We support local teams, and one of the first things that could be cut in budgets is to reduce sponsorships and donations to support local children’s sports and activities. [The rising costs] could also cause employees to see fewer raises.

Brown joined two other small business owners on Fox and his friends first Sunday, saying customers bear the ultimate burden of higher costs.

“Included between [gas costs] and the supply chain and our equipment which has increased by 30-40% since July, it compounds our problems trying to pass on the best price and service to our customers.

Chad Olsen of Camelback Moving in Arizona said he struggled to honor quotes issued before fuel prices skyrocketed.

“We honor those rates,” Olsen said. “It’s the right thing to do, but there’s a sacrifice, and we’re absorbing it.”

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Another small business owner in Arizona, Blanca Mondragon of Amazing Flowers, added that she had no choice but to scale back her flower deliveries.

“For the past three years, we’ve offered two-mile free shipping,” Mondragon said. “We can no longer offer free shipping, and unfortunately this affects not only the shipping costs, but also the fees we have to pay additionally for flowers, vases and products.”

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Brown told the Washington Examiner that it’s the first time in his 17 years as a small business owner that he’s seen customers hit so hard by rising prices.

“I’ve never seen a customer have to choose between putting gas in their car, shopping, or fixing their heater,” Brown said. “It affects day-to-day decisions.”

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