Watchman Newsletter

Rising food prices cause headaches for local stores

NBC Kare 11 (Link) - Jana Shortal (November 10, 2010)

For St. Paul�s family owned grocery store, Korte�s, high commodity prices hit hard.

�It means it�s that much harder to get a customer in here,� owner Steve Korte said Wednesday.

For years, Korte has just had to make it work at the store when it�s hit with higher prices by suppliers for food.

But now, with costs of every food item from corn to wheat to meat heading up again, it takes hard to a level hard to handle.

�It takes away from the bottom line cause we cannot go up the percentage that we should in a competitive market,� Korte said.

Korte says he finds other ways, before he increases food prices to his customers.

But cutting stinks because if it�s not a price increase, it could be a staff decrease.

�I�m the old fashioned guy. give �em a job and it is a lot easier to hire than to let �em go and I just don�t want to get to that point.�

But numbers don�t lie.

General Mills says come next week, 25 percent of its cereals will see a single digit price increase, the first in three-and-a-half years.

Kraft foods is looking at price increases on almost half of it�s products.

Why is that?

Corn, which is in nearly everything, is at a 26 month high price in commodities.

Soybeans are priced higher, sugar is at a demand it hasn�t seen in 20 years and pork is expected to jump up in cost by 4.5 percent.

�Everything is going thru the roof,� Korte said in frustration.

Yes, some of it will have to go to the customer.

It will just have to cost more.

And the little corner store will take the brunt of it, it�s not a big box retailer than can rob Peter to pay Paul.

All a place like Korte�s has, is it�s base.

And hopefully, for the St. Paul mainstay, the base will see it thru.

�I think I�ve seen the prices go up but I�m going to keep em in business. I�m going to keep on coming,� customer Marnie Meth said. �

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