Candy store owner says he’ll need to pay $500k more for sugar, worst price increases in ’22 years’

(Video: Fox News)

On the heels of COVID lockdowns and in the face of 40-year high inflation, small business owners are having a hard time keeping their doors open as the cost of everything needed to do business continues to soar.

McJak Candy store owner Larry Johns is struggling just to afford his main, essential ingredient: sugar.

“Sugar was up this year, along with pretty much most of our ingredients and packing materials,” Johns told “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy on Thursday. “But next year it is the highest increase year over year in sugar that I’ve ever seen in my 22 years here. It’ll be up over 40%, partly due to the high transportation cost of sugar… with the fuel surcharges and so forth.”

To produce the same amount of candy that he did this year, Johns says he’ll have to pay an additional $500,000 to buy sugar next year.

Gramercy Gift Gallery owner Martin Garcia is having to turn to credit to cover the additional costs needed to keep his San Antonio, Texas, doors open — an act he is “determined” to accomplish, in spite of the financial crunch.

“Sometimes you go ahead, and if that’s your only option, and I’m determined to keep the doors open,” he said. “And now that I have survived the pandemic and the store is still operating, there’s a new challenge currently that we’re experiencing then that has to do with inflation.”

Jen Fertig chose a different path and closed her Oklahoma storefront. In an effort to keep overhead costs down, she has moved her soap-making business into her home.

“I’m just making everything here at home, and as you can see, I’ve jam-packed my entire store into my spare bedroom at my house,” the Finn Knows Soap owner said. “So I’m just trying really hard to just work around the mess and get my product out and to my customers.”

Difficult business choices are becoming the norm for many small business owners across the country.

According to a dismal new survey from Alignable, an online network of North American small business owners, “35% of small businesses in the U.S. could not pay their rent in full or on time in June.”

“This year started with an average national delinquency rate of 26%, but now that rate is up by 9% compared to January,” Alignable reports. “Not only is this rate 2% higher than it was last month, it’s the highest it has been this entire year.”

Record-breaking inflation is causing gas, labor, and supply costs to soar.

“Simply put,” Alignable stated, “there’s less money available to pay the rent.”

“What makes all of this even more challenging,” the network continues, “is that rents alone have spiked for 48% of U.S. small businesses this month, as well. Of that group, 32% say rent is over 10% higher, and 14% say it’s over 20% more than it was just six months ago.”

And in Canada, the situation is “even more severe.”

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s leadership, “43% of small business owners there couldn’t afford to pay their rent (up 4% from 39% in May.).

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