Minimum Wage Increase
The 2017 increase in minimum wage appears to have impacted small business owners across the Pacific Northwest region.
Bellingham’s Cool Beans Coffee co-owner Jeremy Hawkinson, reportedly had ‘no other option’ but to increase their coffee prices, said Emily Hamann, in her February 2017 BBJ article, “Bellingham businesses adjust to state minimum wage increase.” In their business, explained Hawkinson, expenses include rent, cost of goods and wages adding, “Wages go up … the only place to make adjustments is in the price we charge people.”
During 2017, business to business printer, Becky Raney, COO of Bellingham’s Print and Copy Factory found their sales grew more with their national market compared to their local clientele. She attributes this to their customers’ higher labor and insurance costs, such as manufacturers where labor costs matter to be competitive in the national and international markets. “Businesses feel the need to pull back a bit for security of survival,” said Raney.
“Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees,” said Stephanie Hamilton, Executive Director of the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce in a statement earlier this December. “I do think that the minimum raise hike has hit businesses harder than I am sure those who voted for it intended.” Having said that, she says, she’s seeing ‘greater collaboration between businesses and more idea sharing.’ Hamilton emphasizes shopping local. The quality of customer service provided by small business owners, Hamilton says, cannot be found ‘by shopping online’.
Note: Beginning on January 1, 2018 Washington State’s Adult minimum wage increases to $11.50/hr. (Reference: WA Labor and Industries 2018 Minimum Wage Announcement)