2023 is now upon us, and with that, the new minimum wage increase has been implemented. There have been mixed emotions about this increase, but our local Mom & Pop businesses will be the most affected. Whether it's a diner, boutique, tavern, or tattoo shop, these local businesses face an uphill financial battle. Between the outrageous increase in product, the price of gas, and the hike in electricity, many businesses are already struggling just to keep the lights on.

That $10 cheeseburger meal you used to get at your local diner has steadily climbed to $15 and even $20 in some places, and you can't blame them! I have seen firsthand the stress and struggles many business owners have endured recently because of this. That little old lady who always dreamed of opening a quaint, cozy diner, didn't dream of doing it to get rich! She did it because she loves to bake and wanted to share her love of the kitchen with her community! Many dreams are struggling to stay afloat right now with no relief in sight.

So what are small businesses doing to find a balance, pay their employees, and keep their doors open? Instead of raising prices on everything in that small boutique or every item on that menu, owners have implemented a much better solution. The cost of living expense, or in some cases it's called a hospitality fee has been added to the bill. This is a TINY percentage added to the purchase and it helps balance out the outrageous price increases. I personally would rather pay 80 cents (example) on my total bill rather than an increase on every item on my bill. No small business owner is out to gouge their customers, most small businesses are in business because they love their customers!

We truly are all in this together and I hope that people buy local, now, more than ever! If you are a small business owner, we see you and we support you! Keep on, keepin' on!



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