MILWAUKEE — The rising cost of gas is already hitting small businesses, and economists only expect it to get worse for everyone.
Dave Sobelman, who owns three Sobelman’s restaurant locations, says he has already seen a fuel surcharge added to the costs of his goods.
“$5 delivery charge here, $5 delivery charge there,” said Sobelman, pointing out the cost on a vendor invoice.
He says he was already told by another vendor to expect it on his upcoming bill. This was even before President Biden announced new sanctions against Russia.
“After everything we had to go through as small business owners, this one is going to hurt,” said Sobelman.
A new survey by the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce found that 93 percent of businesses have seen costs increase because of supply chain problems. And 98 percent of businesses in the state have been hit by inflation. Economists say with this newest round of sanctions, inflation is about to get worse.
“The increase in gas price, transportation costs will go up, so it will cost more to transport goods from one state to another, one place to another, so that will be reflected in higher prices,” said Abdur Chowdhury, an economics professor at Marquette University.
Besides gas and food prices, Russia is also a producer of a key metal used in electronics with microchips so everything from cars to TV and smartphones could also get more expensive. Chowdhury expects with so many costs going up, people are going to cut back in other areas affecting all businesses.
“People are paying more at the pump so they might decide to spend less on travel. They might decide to spend less at restaurants. So that will have an impact on the restaurant owners, the travel industry. So you will see a ripple effect,” said Chowdhury.
Sobelman’s says they cannot afford to get hit with any more economic ripples, so they are hoping by not raising prices they will keep or even bring in more customers to help with the costs.
“I don’t want to lose customers, I don’t want to lose money. We are just going to eat it. We’ll get through it like we have done everything else since the beginning of COVID,” said Sobelman.