Businesses feel the effect of minimum wage increase in Colorado

Businesses feeling effects of minimum wage hike in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Back in Colorado, the new year means a pay increase for many. Although it's beneficial for workers, businesses are already feeling the effects.

The raise is less than a dollar an hour, but locally owned restaurants are getting hit hard.

One local pizza shop owner shared with KRDO, he didn't make any money last year with all of his profits going towards just keeping his doors open.

Jim Hendershott, the owner of Billy's Pizza on Cimarron and 8th Street, is having to rethink the prices on his menu.

"First thing I have to do, unfortunately, is raise my prices. Between 50 cents and 75 cents per pizza," Hendershott said.

He also said the price hike is necessary just to stay in business. He's working double, sometimes triple just to keep people employed.

"I have had to cut my labor where I only have 5 employees now. Two cooks, two servers, a dishwasher and myself," said Hendershott.

As of January first, the minimum wage in Colorado is now $11.10. That's a 90 cent increase from last year's rate which was only $10.20. And this is just the latest increase, which is part of a series of increases approved by voters in 2016.

"Last year I didn't raise my prices on anything, I tried to absorb it," he said.

But he says it didn't work. And after 15 years of owning Billy's pizza, Hendershott is afraid he'll have to close his doors for good.

"I have not been able to make any money this year, I am in the hole," he said.

Luckily -- there are loyal customers.

"It's my favorite. I've been coming her about six years. If they can keep it consistent and keep it fresh, I'll still keep coming," one customer said.

Hendershott says people like him are the only way he can stay in business.

Although it seems like a long time from now, the minimum wage will rise again next year to reach $12, with the wage increasing annually based on cost of living.

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