MISSOULA — While Missoula’s small businesses add some flavor to the community, inflation is stressing their bottom line.
The process at Great Harvest Bread Company starts with a grain of wheat, and through the heat of the massive oven it becomes a loaf. But nowadays, raising dough means rising prices with owner Charlie Scheel noting that his wheat prices are up.
“And wheat prices just went up 10%," said Scheel. "And you know over the past year all our prices have gone up pretty substantially.”
They aren’t the only ones feeling the effects of inflation. Bernice’s Bakery wholesale manager Hannah Evans says some of the wholesale companies they purchase from have been raising prices for months now.
“The company that we get them from has actually increased three times over the past six months,” said Evans.
Bernice’s Bakery hasn’t raised their prices on baked goods in over two years, but in order to not “crunch” on numbers, they are in the process of adjusting prices.
“And we are in the process of starting to do that again because of all of these increases on us,” Evans told MTN News.
Great Harvest raised its prices about 15% last fall to meet demands — equating to a 10¢ to 20¢ cent increase on baked goods. Meanwhile, Bernice’s Bakery says they are looking at a 25¢ to 50¢ increase.
Both stores say they don’t want to raise prices, but they are left with no other choice.
“Now things are continuing to get more expensive and so I'm hoping not to have to raise prices again," said Scheel "But you know, there's only so much of that that we can eat as a business.”
To add more fuel to the fire, locally owned businesses are having trouble finding stock and are having to increase wages just to keep staff.
“Another aspect of why it's frustrating for us on top of — obviously raising prices — just being like, ‘oh, it's not in stock anymore’ or ‘we're not going to get it for two weeks,’” said Evans.
“We definitely had to raise our wages just to hire people last summer,” Scheels told MTN News.