New minimum wage pinching some local businesses

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jan 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 00:22:36-05

The new year brought a new minimum wage in Nebraska-$9 an hour.

Some local businesses are feeling the pinch as they fugure out how to pay their employees more, while supporters of the hike said this is long overdue and the previous minimum wasn't enough to live on.

The Village Grinder has been a staple in the Countryside Village Shopping Center for the past 32 years.

“We like to say a home away from home--we're the local coffee shop,” said owner Pat Dudziak.

This home away from home is Dudziak’s business. Her staff is all part time.

“I've hired a lot of high schoolers a lot of college students are basically the employees that I hire,” said Dudziak.

Those employees will now have a bigger paycheck leaving Dudziak with some tough decisions, “Do I raise my prices and pass it on to the customer? But then you are afraid it will be too expensive and you won’t have customers. Do you cut the payroll by you working more hours?”

One of those employees is Hannah Stodolka, a high school senior working about 10 hours a week.

“It's nice to have a few extra dollars in case I need to grab something, spend a lot of money on gas,” said Stodolka.

However in the future she’s concerned her hours may get cut when heading of to college, “That will be a little scary to not have that money I might have had before, not as many hours”.

Many of those hours now go to Dudziak, working 12-plus hour days. It’s a scenario Dudziak said is not popular but now makes businesses sense, “I want to hire people, I want to, I enjoy it. More is better”.

Dudziak said in order to keep pace with last year before this lastest minimum wage increase she would have to raise the price of a cup of coffee about 20-cents, “They're just going to stay home, why come in for a cup of coffee?”

Dudziak doesn’t know what the future looks like for her business but said the wage hike wont stop the coffee from brewing.

“It's scary but I'm a fighter I don't quit and I don't like to lose. If you tell me I can't do it--I'll find a way to do it and that's the only way I've been able to survive,” said Dudziak.