Rising Costs Of Flour, Eggs and Milk Putting Heat On Small Business Owner

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -- No doubt the last time you bought milk, bread or eggs you remarked about the sharp increase in price.

Now imagine having to buy all of that and much more in mass quantities---enough to serve thousands of customers in fact.

For one local business owner, he hopes the sharp increase in prices won't cost him his business.

It's 6:00 on Wednesday morning, the sun is slowly rising over a Paragould landmark.

Batten's is family owned and family run.

Johnson bought Batten's Bakery 4 years ago.

From making donuts to making coffee, the sizzle starts at 2 in the morning.

You'd never be able tell by the service or by the quality of food.

You know, most say Batten's has set the bar high for breakfast and lunch in Paragould, but times Leon says, are tough.

"Four months ago, everything just went out of control," said Johnson.

Johnson says the prices on his necessities like flour , eggs, cheese, and shortening have skyrocketed.

A frustrating reality for Leon Johnson.

"There's no logical reason why things escalated the way they did. There's no shortage of flour, there's no shortage of eggs, there's no shortage of milk. It's not incremental increases, it's huge increases that you just can't swallow," said Johnson.

Those high prices forced Johnson to raise his prices about a month ago. It was his first price increase in four years.

It's certainly not a move Johnson wanted to make, but a business decision he felt he was forced to make.

"Prices had gotten so out of hand that it was no longer viable to continue at status quo...you just can't make it," said Johnson.

Leon Johnson and his crew are doing their best to make it....he calls it a juggling act.

Like the everyday American family, he's trying to cut corners where he can.

Trying to make ends meet at a place, that he says is just worth fighting for.

"It's always on your mind because you've got people depending on you for their livelihood. You're always trying to look ahead to make sure that you can at least address any problems that are unforeseen. So you have to be a visionary sort of--to run a small business," said Johnson.