Small businesses in the Ozarks struggling with inflation, higher fuel prices

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 12:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2022 at 12:29 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many small business owners say they are struggling with higher fuel prices and inflation.

Jeremy Mathis, a food truck owner, spends hundreds on gasoline every week as he opens another food truck.

“It’s tough, and it’s sad to see a lot of the mom and pop places closing down because they don’t have the help,” said Mathis. “They don’t have the product coming in. They don’t have the money for their stuff. We’ve been fortunate where we can run it with two people, you know, husband, wife, team going at it.”

Mathis said sometimes the gas prices don’t matter to him.

“Sometimes I don’t even blink an eye,” said Mathis. “I’m like, let’s go.”

Mathis said they drive anywhere for business.

“Sometimes we’re in Clever, and then we have to be in Billings for dinner or Buffalo for lunch, and then all the way to Rogersville for dinner,” said Mathis. “So we travel quite a bit, six days a week.”

Mathis said all the travel takes a lot of gas.

“Probably close to a couple $100 a week,” said Mathis.

Mathis said he is booked throughout the summer and even opened up a second food trailer, which he said offsets the inflation.

“People love our food and they want us where we’re they are at,” said Mathis. “I’m willing to travel to make them happy.”

Mathis said he has learned some tips to save on those long trips.

“Don’t get that lead foot,” said Mathis. “Don’t break, just little tricks like that you learn.”

But Mathis said gas isn’t the only problem, their main food, hot dogs, can sometimes be hard to find, making them go to multiple stores to find their product, but inflation is just a smudge when they have support of their customers

“It’s crazy how people reach out to me and want me to come to Ava, or come to this work or come there,” said Mathis.

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