Housing prices and residential rent prices have been increasing, which has put many people in difficult situations regarding making ends meet. Local businesses haven't been immune from this either, which has these businesses facing their own set of challenges as well.

Denise Geremia is the owner of Lil Hoots Consignment Boutique, and she explained her rent has gone up by around $500 since 2019. Combined with the rising costs of utilities, this means she's paying anywhere from $600-700 more a month total on average; a sharp jump in a relatively short time. Geremia expects these costs will only continue to rise every year, which creates a big problem in trying to stay profitable and make supporting local businesses possible for local shoppers.

"People complain that buying local can be more expensive. Well, our rent is astronomical, so there's no option. You have to charge what you charge," Geremia said.

While prices have seen a big jump, Geremia added her business has been able to navigate the challenges. While some local businesses have had to raise their prices to manage their rising rent costs, Geremia instead has looked at bringing in other goods so she has more product to offer, thus increasing her profits and managing increased costs. However, this also comes with challenges.

"People are sending me a million options (of what they want to see in the store) but I have to make sure that they're actually going to sell, because if they don't then I'm putting all this money into bringing in a product that doesn't sell, which lowers my ability to pay my rent."

Bringing in more product comes with the additional risk of investing in it, and Geremia added some popular items are simply not an option for her to sell, as there's no way she could compete with bigger companies like Amazon.

"Melissa and Doug (Toy Company) is one of the most requested items here, but their items on Amazon are literally my cost. So if Amazon is selling a magnetic doll for $20.00 and my cost is $19.99, plus I have to pay for shipping, so I have to sell it for $40. No one's going to buy it, so I can't bring it in because there's no point in wasting my money that I need in order to bring in something that no one's going to buy." 

If prices continue to rise as Geremia expects, it's possible local businesses could experience more headaches on the way. However, Geremia hopes the community continues to support her and other local businesses here, and added they're all working hard to keep their services as affordable as possible.

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