SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As inflation continues, small business owners are having to adapt. It hasn’t been easy for everyone. On May 18, the owners of Lost Signal Brewing Company announced they’ll be closing soon. Keeping this in mind, OzarksFirst checked in with two other businesses to see how they’re doing.
Bridgette Cummings, owner of The Healthy Edge on Campbell Avenue in Springfield, tells OzarksFirst she’s had to raise her prices and spend more money on goods.
“I have owned this place for three years now,” Cummings said. “It’ll be three years in June. I have never had to raise my prices until this past year. I had to raise everything up by $0.50 to $1.00. It was really rough.”
At one point, goods were so expensive that she had to ask customers to help out.
“Our cups had doubled that in prices during COVID. It was actually impossible for us to even get cups. So we would ask people to bring in their own tumblers to reuse it because it was just impossible to get even supplies.”
While inflation has made things tough, Cummings tells OzarksFirst she loves a good challenge.
“It’s a way for me to grow, and learn how to tweak things so I can get better. My biggest advice for other small business owners is to have the best customer service as possible. Be that one that stands out compared to other businesses, so people want to keep coming back to you. I always try to remember all my customers’ names. When they come in, I greet them with a warm smile and a great hello.”
Rise Nutrition in Republic, which has a similar business model, also had to raise their prices. Co-owner Shelby Cotter says her business started charging $0.50 more. Also, they now have to pay 4% more for protein powders.
Cotter says her business just started in January, so inflation has been tough for her team to deal with.
“I can’t imagine just doing it on my own,” Cotter said. “Thankfully, I have my two other sisters. We are able to brainstorm, support each other, come up with different ideas on how to save our customers money and how to save our money.”
Rise Nutrition has been able to get in touch with different extract companies like Goodman’s.
“Finding ways to buy more in bulk has been a way for us to bring our costs down for us, and for our customers.”
Cotter tells OzarksFirst she’s been able to rely on people with more work experience to get her through challenges.
“My advice is to find a community, find seek a networking group and people that have done it for longevity who have been successful. We don’t have all the answers. We are so new, and we are just being a sponge of learning from other people who have been successful. We are learning from their mistakes and their successes. Finding a group, a networking group and a Chamber of Commerce is a great start. It’s also important to find people who support your passion. You have to be willing to admit when you’ve done something wrong, and move on and change it. Be very flexible and have a good support system.”
Even though prices have gone up at both businesses, customers have been very understanding. Cotter says she really appreciates that.
“The customers are awesome here in Republic. We have been blessed with a great customer base. Some have changed their order a little bit. Then there are those people who say they’ve moved some other things around in their budget because they want to support ‘you girls in your small business.”
Cummings tells OzarksFirst her customers have been able to get The Healthy Edge through tough times.
“I want my customers to know I am so grateful and appreciative to have been here for three years,” Cummings said. “We just keep growing every single year. When people come in and tell me how grateful they are for this business, and how much they enjoy it, it makes things so much better.