Small business owners react to potential $15 minimum wage increase

LEXINGTON, Ky. (ABC 36) James C Boutique in Lexington is a small business…a women’s clothing store with only 4 to 5 employees.

“I usually have the girls in here 3-4 hours at a time, that’s their shift, and a couple days a week” said Owner, Carrie Burkett.

Burkett says she pays her employees hourly at a little more than minimum wage….which in Kentucky and federally is $7.25

She says with the impact the pandemic has already had on the store, a gradual raise of the minimum wage to eventually hit $15 would still hurt them.

“It would affect us in a big way, and I think the first thing I would do, would be to cut girls just because 15 is a lot.”

Though she says she wishes the store could survive with those rates.

“If I were to keep all my employees it would take money out of the budget that we set aside to buy clothes and as owners it takes away from your bottom line and your takeaway for the year, your salary. So we’d probably have to juggle and decide if that is right or not.”

The federal minimum wage has not changed since 2009.

At Brewed coffee shop, there are a total of 8 employees also making more than minimum wage.

But owner Andrew Cooperrider is not interested in raising it any further.

“The proposal of raising it and also taking away the tipped wage rate at a time where small businesses are being economically damaged so greatly, doesn’t make sense at all” said Cooperrider.

He says adjustments would have to be made if it were to pass.

“Me and my wife would start picking up way more shifts here at the place. We would also have to immediately adjust our prices of course to compensate for that.”

In Kentucky–lawmakers are also pushing for a gradual change of minimum wage to $15 by 2026.

For Carrie Burkett, she’s hoping if an increase happens, it’ll be one she can work with,

“I think maybe a 9 or 10 dollar minimum wage sounds great and I think people would be excited about that.”


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