FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — Many small businesses struggled during the pandemic, some even having to close their doors. Just as many businesses are starting to pick back up, there's a new challenge on the horizon -- rising inflation costs.
Seven miles outside of Frankfort in Bald Knob is a convenience store that owners say has been around for nearly 100 years. Its most recent name is "Little Market".
"I'm hoping to continue because this is such a key part of the community that we'll do whatever we can just to stay open,” says Little Market co-owner Katie Clark.
During COVID-19, owners recall nearly closing the doors. Bigger loans weren't an option.
Frankfort's community funds helped many small businesses stay open.
"We were able to get that loan, and that was very much a godsend, actually,” says Clark.
After five years in business, the Little Market's newest owners, Dan Midkiff and Katie Clark say that the community support really helped them get through the pandemic.
Now, they are looking ahead to inflation challenges.
"Adversity in owning a business -- keeping up with the price changes, the shortages have been challenging,” says Midkiff.
Little Market is a main source of gas for people in Bald Knob. In the past few weeks, gas jumped from $2.99 to $4.19. The market has raised all its prices.
Although this shop is not a part of the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce, Commerce leaders say other businesses face the same challenges.
"Some people are doing the best they can with what they've got. They don't have all the people, they don't have the staff that they had before - so just be kind, and let's all be together and get through this. And hopefully, we come out on the other side, everybody will be better,” says Chamber President and CEO Tish Shade.
Now, the chamber is starting new programs to help connect small businesses working together to keep the community going.
"There's that fine line on when to let go and maybe go work for 'the man' -- which it doesn't give you the freedom that we have. So, small entrepreneurs, the reason you do it is freedom,” says Midkiff.