HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News at 10) – With shipping ports backed up and record-high inflation rates last month, everything from your bills to Christmas decor is getting more expensive. Now, local business owners are trying to find ways to stay afloat without chasing the customer away.
Thursday, we stopped by Joe and Son’s Olive Oils in Tampa.
“It’s actually named after my great grandfather and grandfather who had the original Joe and Sons Market in Ybor City that started in 1938. Being a small business owner, you wear a lot of hats,” said the owner, Andrea Messina. The modern version you see today of the vintage market opened in 2011. Fourth generation owner, Andrea Messina explains how her family keeps customers coming back.
“For the holiday season we did order much earlier than we normally would have. Then, we didn’t have to pass on that cost down to the customers,” she said.
According to a recent study by business.org, consumers and businesses in the U.S. are facing the highest month-over-month inflation rates since 2008. And stocking products at the right price is proving to be more difficult.
“We work with a local bottle printer for all of our bottles. There was a glass shortage. They were getting charged an enormous amount more just for their shipping costs. Early summer we put our order in,” said Messina. “We did start seeing shortages of things early on. A lot of our vendors, a lot of them are also small business owners as well and we look out for each other. There’s an olive oil store in the panhandle and we have gone in together on packaging, but that helped, again, with the cost because cardboard prices have also gone up.”
Studies show 89% of small business owners have increased prices to counter inflation and 64% report not being able to acquire the products they need to meet customer demand due to supply chain shortages.
“We did actually, about a year ago, increase our prices a small amount. We’re going to hold still at this point,” said Messina. “We have been so grateful for the community and customer support. We hope that that trend continues and we continue to grow.”