Nine months into the minimum wage hike in Colorado and businesses are already feeling the effects.
Triple S Brewery Co. on Colorado Avenue and Wahsatch Avenue closed its doors for good this week. The owner Steve Stowell posted on Facebook that the brewery he started nearly two years ago will turn off the lights for good. The owner says the reason is due to the minimum wage hike for employees and construction going on right across the street.
Triple S Brewery is not the only business in the same boat. Owner of Billy's Pizza on 8th Street and Cimarron Street, Jim Hendershott says he is no stranger to construction slow downs. However, even with the roadwork, business has been good. "My sales did improve versus last year even during the construction," says Hendershott.
The problem Hendershott says his business faces is the minimum wage increase. In January 2018, the wage will increase again to $10.20. Which could be a problem when business slows down in the fall and winter. "When I don't have anybody in here then I'm paying two or three dollars an hour for a person just to stand around and do nothing," says Hendershott.
Another local business owner supports the wage increase. The owner of Old Town Bike Shop on Tejon Street and Cimarron Street, John Crandall says he sympathizes with other businesses but says the wage hike is needed. "At the moment I certainly feel it's a good thing," says Crandall. " There will be some challenges in doing that [raising minimum wage], but philosophically I feel such a big issue to try and get people out of the poverty level."
We reached out to the Triple S Brewery Co. owner but have not heard back. Neighboring restaurants say they have not had a decline in business due to the construction or problems with the minimum wage.
According to Triple S Brewery's Facebook page, another brewery will be moving into their location within the next couple of months.