ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – During the past two years, small businesses in Central Florida have faced several obstacles in order to stay in business.
And the obstacles continued to mount on Thursday when the latest inflation numbers were released, marking a 7.5% increase in inflation year-over-year. It’s the most significant rise experts have seen since the 1980s.
Evan Dimov, who owns “Too Much Sauce” in the Mills 50 district, said before the pandemic, a 50-pound bag of jasmine rice cost $24. Now he said that price has risen to $56.
As businesses work to recoup some of the rising costs piled onto the consumer, special fees related to inflation have been proposed.
“I’m considering to put a fee, you know inflation fee,” Dimov said. “I want to know about what happened. I want to know the truth because I’ve heard from them there’s a problem with their trucks. It’s more expensive.”
University of Central Florida economics professor Sean Snaith, Ph.D., said a combination of stimulus spending and government relief money is to blame.
The money used to help combat the pandemic resulted in consumer spending increasing at a level supply couldn’t keep up with.
“It’s an ongoing game of catchup with manufacturing and the logistics piece. You know, once a product is made, it has to be transported. So you have 70 boats waiting to get into port to try to get these containers,” Snaith said. “I think gasoline prices will likely rise, you know, until we get to the Memorial Day, start of the summer driving season. So, in the $4 a gallon (range).”
Snaith also said smaller businesses have less leverage to negotiate a lower cost for goods, compared to larger retailers and chains.
With the uncertainty of the future, Dimov said he hopes prices decline soon or an inflation fee may be unavoidable.