Coffee shop owner says minimum wage hike will hurt small busines - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Coffee shop owner says minimum wage hike will hurt small businesses

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Cool Beans Coffee on Spokane’s South Hill is moving to a new location after sitting on the corner of 44th and Regal for six years.

“It’s going to be a whole new Cool Beans but in a cool way,” said owner Megan Turner. “So we’re using it as a jumping off point to make some positive changes.”

The popular coffee shop isn’t going far. It’s moving across the street after lease negotiations with the owner of the property.

But the new groundwork isn’t the only thing changing for Turner and other small businesses.

Voters approved a statewide minimum wage increase during Tuesday’s election.

Initiative 1433 will increase the state’s minimum wage from $9.47 to $13.50 by 2020 and also require employers to provide workers with paid sick leave.

Supporters of the Initiative say the price hike will lead to a better life for minimum wage employees and a stronger economy overall. They say the boost is needed to help people live, and will give them more money to spend elsewhere.

But Turner disagrees and says it will hurt the local economy.

“It’s going to affect small businesses that can’t afford the cost of wages right now,” said Turner. “People could be out of jobs because the businesses that employ them can’t employ them.”

Turner fears that could be true for her coffee shop.

“We will have to require more out of our baristas, hire fewer workers, and raise prices,” said Turner. “I don’t think I’ll be able to promote growth from within.”

Turner says she is going to do everything in her power to stay in business, but shutting her doors is a valid fear.

“I would love to say that that’s not going to happen,” said Turner. “But there are going to be things in place for that objective to be reached.”

Minimum wage will rise to $11 an hour in 2017, $11.50 in 2018, $12 in 2019 and $13.50 in 2020.

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