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Possible minimum wage increase worries small business owner

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Feb 13 2013 05:56:59 PM CST
ROBERSONVILLE -

President Obama announced at the State of the Union address Tuesday night he wants to change the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour.

However, with more than a 20% percent increase in pay for each employee, some small business owners may struggle to stay afloat.

Daniel Robinson, owns Andrews Superette store in Robersonville.

"We're the last mom and pop grocery store left in Martin County," Robinson said.

The Superette is a cross between a grocery store and a convenience store. It's a true throwback to the good ol' days. A place where you know the people walking in.

"Stores aren't just for business. They're places to gather and talk. You know the water cooler kinda thing," Robinson said.

His wife's family has owned the store for years. In fact, he's the fourth generation to take over the business.

"I want to retire from here and hopefully my son. I want him to grow up here working. It will never make me sell. It will just I'll work. I'll do what I have to do to keep the doors open," he said.

President Obama hopes to get the minimum wage increase passed by the end of 2015.

Some hourly employees we spoke with think a pay raise is a good idea, but others look at the big picture.

"Yes. It would be a real good thing, but only if he can afford it," Kay Ross said.

Currently, Robinson has five employees and sometimes pays additional people to stock the store. If the minimum wage goes up to $9 an hour, he might have to start stocking the shelves himself.

"With me I'd just have to cut employees. It would be me. I'd have to come down here you know and work open to close and just work doing everything myself because that's the only way you can afford it," Robinson said.

However, Ross hopes that never happens. She has been working at the store for the past eleven years.

"I love it! To me it's the ultimate job. I don't think I could work in other stores," she said.

"It's easy to say yeah that will boost the economy, raise minimum wage, people make more money. But you gotta have the money coming in to justify it," Robinson said.

He believes the government isn't thinking realistically for small town business owners like himself.

"I don't think it's the answer but like I said I'm not in Washington [D.C.] I'm in Robersonville," he said.

If the wage increase goes through, Robinson said he would likely have to go down to only having two employees.