Local small businesses are raising prices to cope with economic challenges

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MILWAUKEE – Rising costs are making business more expensive, pushing local stores to make tough decisions about how much they charge.

“Day to day, it looks like we get an email from a manufacturer or distributor telling us about price increases or supply shortages,” said Zachary Dewitt, director of marketing at Skilos A. Family Pet Store.

These changes have made their way to small businesses like Skilos A Family Pet Store on the east side of Milwaukee. Dewitt’s family opened the place nearly a year ago, fulfilling a longtime dream.

Dewitt said they needed to raise prices to keep up with current economic conditions.

“We try to be as conscious and cost effective as possible for our customers, but when a company decides to put a 12% markup on their products, we have to pass it on. It’s just something we can’t absorb. “, says Dewitt.

Dewitt added that their team must decide when to introduce a substitution, how to communicate the changes to customers, and help customers find different products that match their price.

About 20 minutes to the west, Sichanh Volp’s family also faced these problems.

Volp’s family came to the United States as refugees during the Vietnam War and have run Mekong Cafe for nearly 14 years.

“That’s all we have. You know, it’s a small family business and we don’t really make a lot, but it’s still a living,” Volp said.

The business has survived the pandemic so far by downsizing its dining room and adding a small grocery store.

Recently, Volp announced it had to make the difficult decision to raise prices from April 1, citing rising costs across the board. The family is also considering reducing its delivery radius.

“I’ve tried to absorb some of those costs and not raise those prices for our consumers, but it becomes a situation where if we don’t we’re going to see ourselves with a closed sign on our front door. ,” Volp said.

Raising prices is a daunting decision, Volp said, especially when you don’t know how customers will react. Thankfully, Volp said customers seemed understanding and supportive when she posted about the change on Facebook.

Both companies noticed that customers were more careful with their spending.

It’s unclear when conditions will improve, but Volp and Dewitt say they are coping with whatever comes their way.

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