Like gas, flour costs just keep climbing - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Like gas, flour costs just keep climbing

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May 9, 2008

Albany -- Gas prices jumped another three cents Friday. According to AAA, the Georgia average hit a record of more than $3.61 a gallon, but prices for other goods such as milk, eggs, and flour are way up too.

Those rising prices are hurting one small Albany baker who says if her costs go much higher, she'll have to close shop. She says other small businesses are likely in the same boat.

The flour being sifted at The Cakery is about as precious as gold. It goes into everything the shop makes. "It's the main ingredient for most everything we use, that's correct," says owner Michelle Oaks.

And it's gone up in price. Friday that main ingredient costs Michelle Oaks nearly double what it did a year ago and her invoices prove it. In February it was up to twenty two dollars for a $50 pound bag and nearly $30 a bag last month.

"A lot of the suppliers have tried to hold down their prices as long as they could, but with the high fuel charges to them they're starting to pass some of them on to their customers too and it just makes it harder and harder," Oaks says.

Harder for Michelle to keep her prices low, she's gone up cents on some, a dollar on others. "Sometimes you have to eat a little bit of those higher costs and just pass it on and do a good job and hope people remember that and come back."

 It's not just local businesses, you're likely feeling the pinch too, a bag of flour here at the grocery store is a dollar more than it was a year ago.

With everyone experiencing high costs, orders for Mother's Day have been down. "We are not right now experiencing a high influx of mother's day orders."

For now Michelle says she's coping as best she can with the high prices, but too much higher and she and other small businesses may be forced out. "I'm not sure if I could keep my doors open if flour goes to $40 a bag.

She says that's just how the cookie crumbles. Oaks said her uncle is a wheat farmer in the Midwest and had his best year in 25 years and were paid very good prices for the wheat so she doesn't understand why the price has risen so significantly.

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