Inflation is top concern for small businesses in Middle Tennessee

The Basement Marketplace.jpeg
Posted at 7:46 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 07:34:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — From the prices at the pump to the grocery store, shoppers have all felt the effects of inflation.

But a recent study shows it's also impacting the prices some pay at some of their favorite small businesses.

The Basement Marketplace in Old Hickory offers a variety of items from more than 50 Tennessee vendors.

Julie Ruesewald, the store's owner, said her business survived the pandemic and now these small business owners are being faced with supply chain disruptions employee and product shortages. With all of that, inflation is hitting small businesses especially hard.

"Well shipping and delays and increased shipping costs are certainly impacting us and all of our vendors," said Ruesewald.

Inflation is the top concern for small business owners, according to a MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce report.

"Everybody knows the cost of wood has gone through the roof, and I have several vendors that make things with wood so that definitely impacts their supplies and their pricing," Ruesewald said. "Candlemakers — the cost of their wax and their vessels — my lady that does local honey. She was having trouble finding glass jars to bottle her honey in so all kinds of things have impacted us."

The report said to cope with inflation, 67% of small businesses have raised prices. Another four in 10 (41%) report having decreased staff or taken out a loan in the past year in response to growing inflation pressures.

"A lot of our vendors that we order from wholesale have added surcharges, which are significant. It can be 5% to 8% on top of what you're already paying shipping," Rusewald said.

These prices then fall on the consumer.

"Our customers are just very supportive of us and most of them understand you know. They see the prices at the gas pump or at the grocery store. So they've seen a few gradual changes," Ruesewald said.

The survey also showed that inflation is everywhere: the impacts of rising inflation are affecting small businesses of every size, in every sector, and in every region of the country. Across sectors, those in the manufacturing (41%), services (35%), retail (32%) and professional services (29%) sectors all cite inflation as one of the top challenges facing the small business community.

Some small businesses also cited concern about rising interest rates this year — and what impact that might have on their business.