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Higher Gas Prices Hurt Small Businesses, Charities

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Things aren't exactly coming up like roses at Avent Ferry Florist. After the staff prepares arrangements, they have to deliver them. With rapidly rising fuel prices, this small business said it has to pass along the cost to the customer.

"We absorbed as much as we could on our own part, but since fuel prices have shot up significantly we've had to increase a little bit," said owner D.C. Roberts. "Not a whole lot, just a little bit."

The cost for delivery has gone up $1 more per order for delivery. They've also squeezed their delivery area to cut fuel costs, meaning no more trips to Wake Forest or Brier Creek.

Ford's Produce delivers to restaurants, grocery stores and schools. Sending the goods out costs more, but getting them in costs a lot more.

"The freight on a box of apples was $3, maybe $2.75 if you bought it on a good deal," said ownder Vaughn Ford. "Now, with gas costs going up, that same price is $6.50 or close to that per box of apples, so it's about double."

So the produce wholesaler takes gets hit with higher costs for every shipment. But the food chain impact of higher fuel costs doesn't stop there. Just talk to charitable organizations that deliver donated produce.

"We can't deliver as much as we used to when gas prices were lower, and we've had to cut out some of the really far away places and even some of the smaller ones," said Ann Bumgardener with the Inter Faith Food Shuttle.