MONTGOMERY, Ala. – From inflation to staffing shortages to talk of a recession, business owners in Alabama have been dealing with a lot lately to keep their doors open.

Those at Renfroe’s Market say they’ve had to raise prices to deal with economic challenges.

“You can’t buy something in on one price and sell it lower than what you buy it in at,” Store Manager Clark Psalmonds said.

Psalmonds says he’s hopeful things improve soon with prices but doesn’t see signs of that yet.

“I still want to say I want to think prices will go down, but right now it doesn’t look that way,” Psalmonds said.

Psalmonds isn’t alone. According to the National Federation of Independent Business Alabama State Director Rosemary Elebash, lots of business owners right now are concerned with the economy’s direction.

“I think things likely will decline some more just from what I’m hearing from small business owners. We are not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel anytime soon,” Elebash said.

NFIB in Alabama represents roughly 7,000 businesses in the state. Elebash says rising prices, gas costs, inventory shortages, and challenges in hiring have been hard on business.

“From the beauty shop to the car repair shop to the local dentist’s office and all across the board, I’m hearing of the issues concerned with inventory, cost, gas prices, and of course labor shortages,” Elebash said.

Elebash says it’s good the state has a low unemployment rate of 2.6%, but getting more people in the workforce could help with hiring.

Currently, the state’s labor participation rate is about 57% of those between 16 and 64.

Elebash credits the legislature for passing tax breaks for small businesses, but says from a consumer level, the best way you can help is by shopping small.