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Kansas City businesses continue to fight inflation, sky-rocketing gas prices

Gas prices and inflation causing concern among small business owners
Posted at 9:12 AM, Jun 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 15:02:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Small businesses in Kansas City say gas prices and inflation continue to impact their bottom line and hurt their customer base.

Back in March, AAA released a survey which reported more than 59% of people claimed they would make changes to driving habits or lifestyle if gas rose to $4 a gallon.

With no control on prices at the pump, new businesses are feeling the pressure.

"The biggest impact has been oil and fuel, we are a mobile company, so we bring oil change to your home or business," Kyle Montgomery, owner of InstaLube Mobile Oil, said.

Montgomery and his wife launched their business last year and over the last 365 days, items they need to run their business like filters and oils have jumped 20-30%.

Even though it's not an easy fix, they are absorbing the added costs and making the most efficient use out of each route to get by. Montgomery also had to pump the brakes on plans to expand and put advertising on hold.

"Just trying to figure out new unique ways to save money and keep moving forward and not make any changes until we absolutely have to," he said.

For other business, like the Upper Cut KC, costs continue to stack on up. Within a year, the cost of chicken has quadrupled, freight seafood has tripled and their pork saw a 10-15% increase. Owner Mariah Kinkade raises her own beef, but explained the diesel used to transport and help feed their animals continues to hurt profits.

"The last thing I want to do is lose somebody who may have decided to come here instead of going to the grocery store and they can barely afford it," Kinkade said. "We had to increase our prices and we've lost some of those people that can no longer afford it."

Most recently, Kincade started to offer delivery drivers gas money to offset costs, but she worries her customers will be driven away by the rise in gas prices.

"We're in the Liberty and Kansas City line here," Kinkade said. "So if we have customers coming from Overland Park, Blue Springs, Independence and all of these other places, they may not be able to afford to come up now."

Kincade says she is also worried about labor costs, they're at their highest since first opening up her business seven years ago. She's been able to pay her employees, but she worries gas prices will drive them away since some have to commute more than 30 minutes to work.

"We're gonna do the best we can to keep providing great products and try to accommodate people as best we can," she said.

Last month, a survey by research company Score was released and it reported more than 62% of business owners saw a decline in profits and more than 54% of business owners had to increase their prices between 5-20%.