Small Businesses React to President's Minimum Wage Proposal

In light of President Barack Obama's visit to Central Connecticut State University to discuss his plan to raise the minimum wage, some small business owners expressed concerns that a higher minimum wage could have a negative impact.

The Tikkaway Grill has been open on Orange Street in New Haven for about six months now, and the owner said he's still trying to build up business and pay the bills.

“Of course I have a deep hole that I have to dig out of,” said Gopi Nair, who owns Tikkaway.

Nair says if the minimum wage was raised to $10.10 an hour, it would hurt his business, because he employs some minimum wage employees.

“Would only take me negatively, deeper into the hole,” said Nair.

Nair says it would also have an impact on his restaurant's prices, and the extra cost of doing business would be passed on to the customer, which in today's economy isn't a realistic option.

“I think it's short-sightedness, and more of a political game than coming to terms with the real world out there,” said Nair.

However, not all small businesses say they'll be impacted by a minimum wage hike. Elm City Market in New Haven says it really wouldn't see a change.

“We start people above people above what the minimum wage is now, so it will have minimal impact on the Co-op,” said Amy Christensen, Marketing Director for Elm City Market.

Elm City Market says it concentrates on making sure its employees have a livable wage, and in New Haven, that is above the current $8.70 an hour.

“We want to employ people who live here, give them jobs, and also make it so they can afford to live, afford to eat healthy foods and feed their family,” said Christensen.

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