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Gas prices, economy hurting small-business owners

Posted June 25, 2009

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— Everybody knows the economy has gone down the tubes – from the man who lays down tubes for backyard sprinklers to the courier who brings lunch.

But add $2.61 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in a state of double-digit unemployment – it climbed to 11.1 percent in May, an all-time high, according to the North Carolina Employment Security Commission – and your neighborhood painter is seeing red.

Gas prices Small-business owners say they're hurting

"We're no better off, right now, than we were a few months ago when gas was cheaper," said Ron Yerry, who owns Yerry's Painting and Repairs in Hope Mills. "It helped us then, but not, it's going right back to eating the profits we do know."

Yerry has had to cut staff. So has Penny Yepez, who owns Roadrunner Courier Services in Fayetteville.

A year ago, she had 10 employees. Now, she's down to three, because of a combination of gas prices and a sour economy, and might have to make more cuts.

"You're stuck in a situation where you've got accounts, people cutting back on their accounts and not being able to pay the drivers more when they're paying more for gas," Yepez said.

Gas prices have risen about 60 cents a gallon statewide since May 1. AAA Carolinas predicts they will jump to about $2.75 a gallon in August before dropping.

Sterling Kemp, who owns Kemp Lawn and Garden in Fayetteville, figures that as much as 15 percent of his budget goes to fill gas tanks.

"You used to go in every time and fill up. Now, you go in, you get $40 worth, you get half a tank," Kemp said.

He also uses fewer workers on jobs.

Six months ago, as the economy was going into the ground, gas at $1.50 per gallon made it a bit easier to take.

"You would pay $55 to fill it up," Yepez said. "Now, it's $80. That's a huge difference."

It's a huge difference, she says, that she's trying to close by thinking small.

For example, Yepez cut things around the office to close the gap, such as stopping her water deliveries for the water cooler.

“And it’s a small thing, but when you start cutting back, it’s the small things,” she said.


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  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Jun 26, 2009

    For small business owners, it's not going to get better. Obama doesnt care about small business. He wants BIG government to run, or ruin, everything.

    Hope all the hippie liberals are getting the "change" they voted for.

  • affirmativediversity Jun 26, 2009


    Sorry...I'm a notoriously bad typer and speller, for that matter. I truly wasn't sure if it was one "n" or two...

    either way I enjoy GLENN BECK's show and most on FOXNEWS.

  • scientistjo Jun 26, 2009

    His name is "Glenn Beck". Two "n"s.

  • mep Jun 26, 2009

    Look what is said about the Cap & Trade scam: The American Petroleum Institute sent a letter to Congress this week which claims that the Waxman bill "would mean gasoline at more than $4 per gallon" and that "the bill will cost Americans billions of dollars in higher costs, kill jobs and will not deliver the environmental benefits promised."

  • GWALLY Jun 26, 2009

    ...."The question begs to asked...WHAT DIRECTION DO THEY WANT TO GO IN? affirmativediversity"

    THEY (liberal democrats) want to go in whatever direction they think hurts business and corporations the most. Little do they realize the very entitlement croud THEY bought the votes from are the ones affected the most....that is what is known as a fool!!!!!!!!!

  • affirmativediversity Jun 26, 2009

    I always love how the Obama Lovers skulk away pouting whenever someone gives them FACTS that don't jive with their fantasy!

    Utterly amazing that anyone would blindly support the BIGGEST TAX INCREASE in US HISTORY specifically targetted at UTILITIES (something EVERYONE must pay) and rationalize it as "a step in the right direction"...

    The question begs to asked...WHAT DIRECTION DO THEY WANT TO GO IN?

  • affirmativediversity Jun 26, 2009


    How is it not about you? You say you research this bill? Really? What possible "step in the right direction" is this?

    Your priority can't be the environment because cabon taxes or cap and trade/tax has not reduced pollution in ANY country where it has been tried. In fact in some countries it is not argued that Carbon Trading has INCREASED pollution by giving the biggest industrial polluters a mechanism by which to JUSTIFY MORE EMMISSIONS (they simply buy them).

    The only people who gain from this are people like AL GORE who has (suspiciously) set himself up a CARBON INVESTMENT/TRADING company...AND, of course, ALL OBAMA'S BUDDIES IN CHICAGO WHO WILL MANAGE THE CARBON COMMODITY EXCHANGE.

    Just think...all that speculators that sky rocket the price of gas on a whim CAN NOW DO THE SAME WITH POLLUTION...and that will equal UNCONTROLLED UTILITY INCREASES for EVERYONE!

  • Eeeee Jun 26, 2009

    I'm through arguing this point with you. It is obvious we will not see eye-to-eye on this issue. Yes, I have researched it. I do understand the impact of a bill like this. However, it is high time that something like this is done. It is a small step in the right direction.

  • Eeeee Jun 26, 2009

    No, you have it wrong. It is not about me. Adjust your thinking and then we'll talk.

  • affirmativediversity Jun 26, 2009


    How big of you to spend my money for me.

    At least I'll give you credit for admitting that you are so self absorbed you don't give a rat's behind about how all this spending and TAXING will negatively effect anyone else...its all about YOU and what YOU want!

    Did you bother to research where all this money goes, who benefits most and how it negatively impacts everyone else. Did you know that this bill, in effect, makes POLLUTION A TRADING COMMODITY on the Chicago Exchange and that one of Obama Inc. buddies has already been tagged to run the POLLUTION COMMODITY? Did you know that GE (a large multi national corportation...one of those business suspiciously not demonized by Obama Inc) is in line to receive MULTI BILLION DOLLAR CONTRACTS to ADMINISTER the "Carbon Caps"? Have you bothered to check with other countries that tried this...did it lower their pollution or did it just make a bunch of rich guys richer? HOW MUCH WILL AL GORE MAKE FROM THIS TAX EXTORTION?