KAILUA (KHON2) — Inflation has had an impact on almost every business everywhere.
We’re not safe from it here in the islands with our high cost of living, but as prices of commodities like oil and wheat start to recede many of our local businesses are hoping there’s a light and a lesson at the end of the tunnel.
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The June inflation report is scheduled to come out on Wednesday. CNBC reported it could be hotter than May’s 8.6% year-over-year mark. Even with inflation hitting local folks hard, Lokahi Kailua Market was bustling with customers on Sunday.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to have a steady business and even a bump in business because I do think people in our community are a little bit more mindful of where they’re spending their money,” Ku Kolu Designs owner Stephanie Mendieta said.
The grind of months of inflation has still been rough for some vendors.
“Since the beginning of the year our sales have gone down by about two-thirds,” Onekea Bros. General Store’s Kawehi Onekea said. “Sometimes we just take smaller margins because we don’t want to raise our prices if we can absorb it then we’ve been trying to do that.”
Others have had to increase their own prices to stay afloat.
“Everything in our business has gone up at least 20%,” Opae Hawaii’s George Holapa said. “It has caused us to increase our prices a couple of times, our opae had to increase with the new year our pancakes just increased this week.”
Every business KHON2 spoke with at the market said they don’t want to sacrifice their quality.
As the vendors encourage folks to continue supporting local small businesses, they’re practicing what they preach.
“We’ve been trying to get a little more creative with what sandwiches we make and find other purveyors to get us the ingredients we need as well as using local ingredients when we find them,” WeirDoughs’ Aaron Biolos said.
COVID forced these entrepreneurs to innovate. As inflation shows signs of flattening out, Onekea said they can do it again.
“There’s been a lot of innovation in like small Hawaii business in trying to come up with new products that represent our native Hawaiian community or even local community,” said Onekea.
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The Lokahi Kailua Market runs every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.