For small businesses in Huntington, it may have seemed like the worst was over when the Coronavirus shut down ended. However, a new enemy has emerged from the pandemic in the form of inflation, kicking the local area’s revenue while they’re down. Inflation, the increase of prices coupled with the decrease in value of the dollar, is being felt across the country; small businesses are faced with the decision of increasing prices.
Small businesses can be found throughout the Huntington area, but are prominent in the popular Heritage Station. Nestled among the small shops is the cozy Nomada Bakery. Offering sweets, drinks, and even empeñadas, Nomada Bakery was a fast hit when it opened in September 2019. However, a few months later the bakery was forced to close its doors because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Having survived the shut down and opening back up with dine-in and curbside options, co-owner Shawn Schulenberg now relies on his “amazing and loyal customers,” to stick with them through the inflation. As Nomada Bakery has seen an increase in prices of their products and cleaning services, they’ve subsequently had to raise their own. Schulenberg, who is also an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Marshall University, expects the inflation to remain as long as COVID-19 is disruptive.
Heritage Station also hosts the local bar Taps at Heritage. Claiming to be “Huntington’s coolest craft beer and spirits bar,” Taps at Heritage has also been subject to the inflation. Coming on to the scene four years ago, Taps has gained a loyal customer base who still managed to support the business through the April 2020 shutdown by purchasing merchandise. Ray Frye, owner of Taps, said the bar thanks customers by giving discounts to their veterans, college students, and ladies’ night attendees. When prices began to inflate for their products, Frye
said, “We weren’t going to punish the consumer,” which is why he continues to provide discounts at the bar, though the state is trying to increase the taxes on craft beer creators, and there aren’t as many products in stock to craft the beer. However, Frye’s bar pushes on, with more than beer. Taps offers merchandise, live music every weekend, and even wine and specialty liquor.
While the country is dealing with post-pandemic inflation, small businesses are working to stay afloat. Loyal customers have helped Huntington small businesses to survive the shutdown and remain open to provide service with a smile.