We announced the closing of our family coffee shop today. I am going to be really open and honest here (long-winded too), because people need to understand how hard it is to run a small business. Having a small business in this area is really incredibly difficult; sometimes it feels almost impossible. The sales and payroll taxes that are required of you can be crippling, not to mention the restrictions that vendors put on you and daily operations costs.
Let me elaborate, in order to place an order with Coca-Cola we are required to order 5 cases. During the summer, we don't make enough money to support ordering from them - so then we run out of things and we feel unprofessional/people complain. In order to purchase our syrup from our vendor we are required a purchase minimum for free shipping - the minimum to ship syrup/smoothie mix can sometimes be so expensive that it takes a huge chunk out of our budget (these packages are heavy). So then we go without and we feel unprofessional/people complain.
Things break. Like all the freaking time. That gets crazy expensive. Especially when it's a fridge, an oven, another oven, a toaster, a microwave, a blender, or an ESPRESSO MACHINE (don't get me started on how expensive espresso machine parts are - they ship from Italy and take like WEEKS to arrive...). Not being able to afford to fix things can create a stressful work environment - no one wants that for their employees.
The turnover is also pretty detrimental. We get applications from mostly college students and high schoolers. And while this is not meant as an encompassing statement, with that age group comes a lot of people who haven't learned the importance of a work ethic or a sense of customer service, yet. Don't get me wrong - we have had AMAZING employees who are in high school and college. But, they are so rare. You have people who just don't show up some days and that's how they quit. After working there for months. When we have such a small staff, that really hurts. Sometimes you have people who obviously just don't want to work, so then you have to fire them, and that sucks. Firing people is not fun at all. (ps - we are currently blessed with an awesome staff, but nothing lasts forever).
So they say - pay your employees better and they will want to stay and do a good job! Ohmygosh how badly we want to do this. However, as you can see through the last four paragraphs - we are a small business, with a small budget and a small profit margin. We have been struggling for a while silently and not maintaining the volume we need. This stress has put such a weight on my family and while we don't want to close, we cannot operate any longer while responsibly maintaining financial and emotional stability.
Please, everyone, support small business. This is their day to day life that I am writing about. Blood, sweat and tears go into their work. Show them that you appreciate it.