P.E.I. businesses seek balance between increased costs, prices amid high inflation

The high inflation rate on P.E.I. is putting some businesses in the position of paying more to operate or charging more for services.

Some costs have to passed on to consumer, businesses say

Peter Meijer, operations manager at VK Greenhouses in Charlottetown, says shipping costs have risen dramatically in the past few months. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

The high inflation rate on P.E.I. is putting some businesses in the position of paying more to operate or charging more for services.

In April, the inflation rate on P.E.I. was 8.9 per cent, the highest of any jurisdiction in the country.

It means higher costs for items that need to be shipped in, such as baskets for plants at VK Greenhouses in Charlottetown.

The greenhouse has had to increase the price of everything by at least 10 per cent to make a profit, said Peter Meijer, operations manager.

'It's an interesting balance, you grow all this stuff you know we have three acres of greenhouse you know you fill it all up and then you have to sell it all so if it costs you more to produce, like where's the line how do you make sure you sell it all?"

Other local shops are also feeling the crunch. 

Flower Buds has had to stop offering free delivery on some orders. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

Flower Buds used to offer free flower delivery to people nearby. But with the cost of gas at more than $2 a litre, that's had to stop. 

"You can't offer them certain things because I would pay that for them so you can't expect them to pay that," said co-owner Vicky Sweeney.

'That's crazy'

"There are certain flowers I would love to have in the shop at all time like peonies for instance, and now they'd be anywhere from 12 to 20 a stem and, you know, that's crazy."

Even with the rising costs, businesses are determined to keep going. 

Lone Oak Brewery opened its second location last week. 

Lone Oak Brewery has opened a new location on Milky Way in Charlottetown. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC)

And while the brewery's prices haven't budged yet, the co-owner Jared Murphy recently got word that his suppliers are bumping up theirs. Adding another dollar to a can of beer that costs in the $5 range would be a big markup, he said.

"We're always looking at our prices and making sure they make sense for the business but they also make sense for the consumer. There's always that balance and that's getting tougher because you want to make sure your prices are attractive for people to visit your establishment so that they can afford to come out and enjoy themselves, but at the end of the day we've got a lot of bills to pay." 

Difficult to find staff

Some seasonal businesses said rising gas prices are making it difficult to find even staff.

Mia Welto, the manager of the COWS ice cream shop at Avonlea Village in Cavendish, about a half hour drive from Charlottetown, said a lot of their workers over the years have been young people who may not live in the immediate area.

Even though the shop has increased its wages to offset the cost of gas, Welton said the drive is still not worth it for some.

"We're not fully staffed yet, we're having a bit of trouble especially with gas prices but we get what we can. We have a lot of returning staff but even for returning staff it gets hard because they can't justify driving out here for what it's worth that we can pay them."


With files from Sheehan Desjardins


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