Heartland small business owners concerned about minimum wage increase

Heartland small business owners concerned about minimum wage increase
Local businesses are getting creative to meet the books after Missouri voters passed proposition B. (Source: Kelsey Anderson, KFVS)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Local businesses are getting creative to meet the books after Missouri voters passed proposition B.

Prop B will increase the minimum wage gradually to $12 an hour by 2023.

“Consumers will end up absorbing the higher wages through higher prices,” said Brad Belcaster, owner of Bent Creek Golf Course.

He said the change in minimum wage will change the way he runs his business.

“Well, anytime wages go up and this is a fairly significant increase you look at ways to do things more efficiently; and so you look at hiring fewer people managing your current workforce to fewer hours if possible,” said Belcaster.

Chris Marchi owns several small businesses and is a co-owner of the new Mary Jane Bourbon plus Smokehouse being built in Cape Girardeau.

“We’re going to have to get creative we are going to have to look at ways to automate processes. with the restaurant we pride ourselves on doing things by hand creating everything from scratch- so we’ll have to look at down the road, what can we do?" said Marchi.

He said they’ll also have to look at eliminating some lower paying jobs.

Matt McDonald used to manage restaurants, he said he voted for the increase.

“I watched adults living off of those wages and not able to live off of them and so i think it needs to be a livable wage so I’m glad that it’s going up," said McDonald.

He said he knows this will impact local businesses.

“I know it’s going to be harder on the ownership side of things and on small business owners but as a former restaurant manager I’m very thankful for it," McDonald said.

“I understand the idea that minimum wage is very difficult to live off of for the most part in all of our business," said Marchi. “We don’t have people who are trying to make a living off of minimum wage we have people who are just trying to get 10-15 -20 hours a week just to get by like the college students and high school students.”

Ultimately, Marchi said it will impact consumers the most.

“Anything that has someone working to prepare it or give it to you or whatever, it’s going to be more expensive," said Marchi.

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