Small business owners still not breathing a sigh of relief

PHOENIX – For decades, Carlyn Mallea has helped spread beauty in Arizona, creating floral arrangements for events and weddings as a valley florist.

“It’s hard,” Mallea said. “It’s hard to sustain. It’s hard to stay on top.”

But with COVID-19, inflation and rising oil prices, the owner of Blissful Blooms says owning a small business has never been more difficult.

“The flowers grow exponentially with the gas,” Mallea said. “Some things have been doubled.”

Even though the average cost of a gallon of gasoline in Arizona has dropped by about $1.50 since June, that’s not reflected in some of her costs, she said.

“It’s frustrating that sometimes it’s the same price and sometimes it’s more expensive,” Mallea said. “I paid $3.00 for a rose.”

Not just flowers, Mallea told ABC15, but almost everything she needs to run her business has added costs.

She’s had to raise some prices, but Mallea said she’s trying to keep them reasonable.

“It’s been really tough,” said the small business owner. “In fact, the accountant who did my bills this month said you didn’t collect enough money.”

On Tuesday, ABC15 looked at other small businesses adding surcharges on gasoline and inflation.

For now, none of the businesses have said they will stop the extra charges.

Economic expert and Arizona State University professor Dennis Hoffman predicts that business owners like Mallea should feel relief soon.

But he said relief could lag, depending on the contract.

As for the cost of other commodities, its supply and demand relationship is very complicated and depends on many variables.

“The good news is that fuel prices are coming down and we’re all going to benefit from that to some degree,” Hoffman said.

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