NYS minimum wage increasing again, how one business owner is dealing

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Small businesses across New York State have spent 2017 adjusting to the minimum wage increase. 

It's going up another .70 cents on New Year's Eve leaving many owners with their hands tied either having to shrink staff or up prices. 

18 News spoke to Turtle Leaf Cafe owner Adam Bunce last year who said he couldn't live with himself if he laid someone off, so he cut dinner hours leaving the store open for just breakfast and lunch. He also increased prices between three to five percent.

Fast forward one year later and he still hasn't fired anyone but increased menu items again at the same rate.

"I didn't want to cut the portion size either because people have been getting the same sized portions for the six years that we've been open," Bunce said. 

Despite this, some customers don't mind the inflation.

"For good food and for the employees to have a good wage, I'm okay with it," Melissa Murray said. 

Speaking of employees, without surprise, they aren't upset about it either. 

"I love it," Elijah Smith said. "I'm getting paid more for working here. It's great. It really is."

Bunce raised prices last week to prepare for payroll. One look at the store's menu board on the wall and you'll notice the food items aren't traditionally priced. Instead of using usual numbers like $8.00 flat or even $8.50, it's precisely calculated to meet salary demands. You'll find food priced at $8.33, $8.56 and so on. 

Bunce says he's happy his well-deserved employees are receiving a bump in pay, but... 

"At the same time, we gotta find a way that it can work for the people that are making these increases in their wages as well as the businesses themselves," he said. 

Minimum wage will go up to $10.40 per hour on December 31. It will increase .70 cents every year until the year 2020.

This is all part of the state's plan to reach $15 an hour. For more information on the wage increases, click here


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