Inflation, supply issues hitting small businesses in San Antonio

Some businesses were better prepared than others, expert says

SAN ANTONIO – Anyone who has bought almost anything these days already knew what the Consumer Price Index was last month, a jump of 6.2%, the largest increase in 30 years.

Economists blame soaring fuel prices and the seemingly endless supply chain issues.

Not only are consumers paying the price, so are small businesses.

Clay Williams, owner of the San Antonio Bike Shop, has been impacted to the point he’s decided to close the shop sometime next month.

“I wanted to be an old man running a bike shop,” Williams said. “It’s really emotional and it hurts that I have to close it.”

But with a family to support and taking care of his elderly parents, Williams said he had to make the most difficult decision he’s made since opening the bike shop eight years ago in a prime location on Broadway.

“We tried to hang in there, hoping things would turn around, but they just never did,” Williams said.

He said the tangled supply chain meant he couldn’t get the inventory he needed.

What he could get was on back order, often for months, Williams said, yet he’d already paid for it, so he couldn’t recoup what he’d already spent.

“You have nothing to sell, what are you going to do?” he asked.

What inventory he does have left, Williams said, “I can’t take everything with me, so we’re discounting everything that we have.”

Yet, there are other business owners who’ve been able to hang on like Terri Rehkopf, a former hair stylist who opened her own shop, Ippadora Natural Hair Salon.

“It was very frustrating, but I do well under pressure,” Rehkopf said.

Rehkopf said during the lockdown, she was delivering hair color to her customers, offering discount gift cards and her business qualified for a loan from the Payment Protection Program.

She also sought the advice of Grow Disrupt, which offers a variety of events, programs and resources for small business owners.

Stephanie Scheller, the founder of Grow Disrupt, said there could be many reasons why some businesses thrive and others struggle.

But generally speaking, Scheller said, many who are thriving were following the markets to help come up with solutions or prepare for what was coming that could affect their business.

Scheller said business owners who are struggling often feel overwhelmed.

“They just don’t have more energy to deal with solving another problem because we have endless problems right now,” she said.

“If you’re tired and you need a break, it’s OK to shut things down for the time being,” Scheller said. “Take care of yourself. There will be more business opportunities down the road.”

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About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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