RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– Small businesses are facing multiple challenges, Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce CEO Michelle Rotellini reported Tuesday, September 27, 2022.

Rotellini, who owns The Dish Cafe and an in-home care agency, said small business owners have always had challenges.

In 2022, however, they now face the highest inflation rate facing Americans in generations, fuel surcharges by delivery companies, delayed and limited deliveries and a worker shortage.

Due to a decrease in available employees, most employers no longer pay minimum wage. Rotellini said the market determines the wages business owners pay workers. They compete against corporate giants which provide goods at a slightly reduced cost.

Rotellini said it’s important to a community for small businesses to thrive.

“Small businesses are what make up the unique fabric of who we are, and we don’t want them to go away, she explained. “We don’t want to just be shopping at big box stores and going to chains all the time. We want our small businesses. They bring the flavor to who we are.”

Rotellini said most small business owners struggle more in January, after the holiday season and when icy roads often keep diners and shoppers indoors. She said the public can maintain a vibrant small business community by dining and shopping at locally-owned businesses as often as possible.

“Recycle the dollars, ” she advised. “We say that all the time, here at the Chamber. ‘Recycle the dollars that you earn here.’ Spend them here, because that helps everyone to be more sustainable, and it creates a more viable business economy.”