SAN ANTONIO – Most business economists think the U.S. economy could avoid a recession next year, even if the job market ends up weakening under the weight of high interest rates, according to a survey released this week.
Although there is much more optimism on Wall Street, Main Street is struggling with rising costs.
Local small businesses are doing what they can to stay afloat.
“We have been in business here in San Antonio for five years,” said Frank Jimenez of Jimenez Panaderia.
For Frank Jimenez and Jimenez Panaderia, it has not been an easy path – considering in their first couple of years they had to deal with the pandemic.
“We just felt like, you know, a lot of course, everyone’s trying to stay afloat,” Jimenez said.
Then came the subsequent inflation that is hitting small businesses across the board.
“There’s been a retraction in the market. Construction slowed. But there’s also been this kind of shift and unknown. And so we’ve seen about a 30% reduction in our mass events,” said Broc Dyson, managing partner of 2 Pees in a Pot.
Dyson said he has a variety of customers who rent their port-a-potties and he primarily works with construction companies and food trucks.
“The basic average costs have increased,” he said.
“The other issue that small businesses have that big businesses don’t is they don’t have the resources to weather the effects of inflation that a large business. like Apple. can weather,” said Dr. David Macpherson, an economics professor at Trinity University.
Macpherson said inflation is still persistent and the macroeconomic conditions get worse before they truly get better.
“2008 is probably not likely, but some sort of recession is more likely than not,” he said.
Even today we are seeing the impact. The popular San Antonio restaurant, Sangria on the Burg, announced on Instagram that its closing on Dec. 31, citing rising costs and declining sales in part.
Small businesses see rising costs and at Jimenez Panaderia, they are seeing big cost increases on their top-tier products.
“Practically on the bakery side, which is a bakery product anywhere from your sugars to your vegetable oil. Like I said, it’s within the past couple of years, it’s been at least a good 25% increase,” Jimenez said.
Small business owners said they are doing all they can to fight inflation.
“I’ve actually increased my prices three times within the past two years, easily just because we have to stay afloat and to meet the minimum margins. And so there’s where we’re at,” Jimenez said.
“And being transparent with our customers and listening to our team are truly the two avenues that we’ve identified to help us at least grow or maintain. But it all starts with your people,” Dyson said.
And there is cautious optimism going forward.
“Small businesses like us, we can’t go too long when the economy goes for, you know, several months,” Jimenez said.