US Small Businesses React to Slight Drop in Inflation

2 mins read
Business Grants

Inflation continues to be a significant concern for consumers and small businesses in the US, even as recent data shows a slight decrease. The National Federation for Independent Businesses reported a rise in its small business optimism index for the first time this year, reflecting cautious hope among business owners.

Nationally, inflation has dropped from its peak of 9.1% in April 2022. The Bureau of Labour Statistics’ latest figures indicate the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.4% year-over-year in April 2024, a slight decrease from the 3.5% rise in March.

In Jackson County, Missouri, small businesses are feeling the effects of these economic shifts. Pam Clark, owner of Clark’s Appliances in Raytown, shared how her family business went from thriving during the pandemic to struggling due to rising interest rates and inflation.

“We’re begging for work. It’s better. It’s getting a little better each week, but it’s still difficult. I cross my fingers every day that it’s gonna start changing. I’m hoping summer brings a difference,” Clark said. She noted that appliance prices haven’t increased as drastically as other essentials like food, but the impact is still significant.

In downtown Lee’s Summit, Local Foundery is also grappling with inflation. Owner Ben Wine said that while business is currently good thanks to local sports teams like the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs driving fan gear sales, they have faced rising costs for soda and shipping. This has forced them to get creative to avoid passing all costs onto customers.

“Just keeping prices a little bit lower, you know, we take a little bit less margin on certain things. Some of our shirt designs, we’ve done less colours or less intricate designs, just to try and keep the cost down. So we kind of stay competitive,” Wine explained.

Both Wine and Clark attribute their survival through tough times to the support of local shoppers. They continue to urge the community to shop local, highlighting the importance of stimulating the local economy and helping small businesses thrive amidst ongoing economic challenges.