Kansas small town businesses battle to cut costs as inflation hits 40-year high

CHENEY, Kan. (KWCH) – Inflation has risen at its fastest pace in over 40 years. The latest Labor Department report indicates that its Consumer price index jumped 8.5% in March from 12 months earlier.

This 8.5% increase is the largest year-over-year increase since December 1981. From COVID-19 to the conflict in Ukraine, there are several factors in this increase. And they hit the checkbooks of small town stores and people buying groceries.

At Cheney, the challenge for SPK Grocery co-owner Patrick Schrant isn’t so much inflation as trying to stock shelves with what people want.

“When people were home in the COVID era, they just had to stock up, like toilet paper,” Schrant said. “All toilet paper is good now, [but there are] some things we can’t get yet.

He said rising gasoline prices also pose a challenge.

“Trying to keep the price low so people keep coming in, and the other challenge is you just have to take a bit of time during the day, and like to look and see, what other options do you have and what you can put on the shelf,” Schrant said.

The 8.5% jump in the CPI from March 2021 to March 2022 included a 1.2% rise in inflation from February to March. That’s up from a 0.8% increase from January to February.

This forces some companies to raise their prices.

“I would have liked them to go down, but we just have to adjust accordingly because we also have bills to pay,” Schrant said.

He advises people to look for deals around his store, paying attention to yellow and blue tags. Another tip offered by Schrant is to research off-brand store options from popular brands.

Schrant and his wife own two SPK grocery stores, Cheney’s and Harper’s.

“I hope people realize that grocery shopping is more than just… We’re not trying to make money. We are also here for the community,” he said.

Schrant said he hopes his customers will continue to buy locally.

With that, he said it was best for them to seek out and take advantage of the offers.

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