COLORADO SPRINGS — Supply chain issues and increasing costs are just a couple of the issues we're having to navigate right now when making decisions on how to spend our money this holiday season. News5 speaks with local business experts about what these consumer challenges look like and how spending your money in southern Colorado makes a difference.
With the uncertainty of yet another coronavirus variant, consumers in southern Colorado will have to decide not only where to spend their money this holiday season, but how much?
"Just recently I did an analysis, a local analysis and saw that housing prices are 21% more expensive than the U.S. average here, the median home price for existing homes. And yet wages are sill 15% lower," said University of Colorado Colorado Springs Economic Forum Executive Director Tatiana Bailey.
Supply chain issues, inflation, and an ongoing pandemic are all contributing to the financial strain on folks in the Pikes Peak Region as they have to make big decisions on how to spend their money this holiday season.
"We haven't had consumer sentiment this low since 2009 and that was still pretty much in the throes of the great recession, so that is troublesome and if you look at the components of it consumers are worried about inflation. In fact, one in four consumers are saying their living standards are now declining because of inflation," said Bailey.
Local small businesses tell News5 they're having to spend more to do business and make alternative plans to keep products moving and on the shelves.
"You're not going to be able to solve the supply chain issues. In many cases it's going to create gaps that small businesses can fill in that supply chain," said Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center Consultant Steve Imke.
Right now there's a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers nationwide and the Colorado Restaurant Association says for our state that's been tough because it's not a top destination.
"There are fewer trucks on the roads and those trucks have to make decisions on where to go and they like to have a drop off and a pick up in terms of shipments so that their trip is as efficient as possible. We are landlocked and we don't manufacture as much that needs to go out elsewhere," said Denise Mickelsen of the Colorado Restaurant Association.
There are ways you can support your favorite local restaurants this holiday season, even if you aren't hungry.
"Don't forget gift cards to restaurants are a wonderful holiday gift and merchandise. Most restaurants have hats and hoodies and T-shirts and those fun things," said Mickelsen.
Ultimately, experts say consumer spending will be key for overcoming challenges.
"For every ten dollars, seven dollars stays in the community and it changes hands about seven times before it would even think about leaving," said Executive Director of the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center Aikta Marcoulier.
"Consumers are going to have a choice," said Imke. "They are going to have a choice of either go cheap and maybe have things that are not available to them right away, or if they choose to they can go ahead and buy a product that might be a little bit more, but it's produced locally."