Inflation Higher Than National Average Across Tampa Bay, Crushing Businesses And Customers
How small businesses are coping with inflation
Aaron Mesmer reports
SOUTH TAMPA, Fla. – Skyrocketing inflation is challenging small businesses across Tampa Bay to find ways to maintain their bottom lines, while also keeping costs down for customers.
The inflation rate in the Tampa Bay area is currently nearly 10%, which is above the national average of about 7.5%, according to University of South Florida economist Michael Snipes.
Peggy Davenport, who owns the South Tampa family meal catering business Davenport’s Daily Delights, said she recently saw her costs explode.
“In nine years that we’ve been in business, I’ve never seen prices increase like this, ever,” Davenport said. “My packaging costs doubled in one week and went from, let’s say, $6.99 for six plastic bowls to $12.99 overnight.”
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Davenport told FOX 13 she’s now paying about 40% more for supplies and food, including about 125-300% more for meat.
Peggy Davenport speaks with an employee at her business in South Tampa
She said she finally had to do something she avoided even during the pandemic: raise her prices.
“I didn’t experience a big price increase until just the past two months or so,” she said, adding she’s told her customers she’d lower her prices as soon as she can. “It’s been a little bit slowly, gradually going up, but now it just escalated to the point where it was time for me to have to raise prices, which I hate to do because everybody is in this predicament across the board.”
Snipes said the rising price to produce goods is compounded by increasing gas prices.
“If those goods have to get shipped from another location like meat, like produce, things like that are going to get hit a little bit more,” he said. “All of the things that’s really kind of our essentials and the things that are going to put the biggest hurt on consumers, that’s where we’re seeing the prices increasing the most.”
Snipes pointed out many major corporations are posting record profits and businesses are struggling to fill openings because of staffing shortages, so they’re not paying for more workers.
“There’s a big inconsistency there,” Snipes said. “I think what’s driving inflation by and large really just kind of comes down to the choices that that bigger businesses are making, bigger businesses are going to set the stage.”
Snipes said it’s hard to predict how long the inflation issue will continue, but he believes it’ll likely be at least two to three more months, but the situation could also last much longer.