With spiraling prices weighing on Main Street, more mom-and-pop businesses are making the difficult decision to pass their cost increases along to customers, even as they fret that customers will defect to big retail chains where they can find lower prices. 

Sarah Piepenburg, the owner of Vinaigrette, a specialty olive oil and vinegar retailer in Minneapolis, expressed relief that her sales dropped by only 15 percent during the months of pandemic lockdowns, but she added that her expenses skyrocketed, shooting up by nearly 50 percent. 

Piepenburg held off as long as she could, but she said she reluctantly plans to raise prices within the next two weeks after having experienced waves of cost hikes for glass bottles to shipping rates. 

“We’re so desperate to keep our customers, because we already know we’re a premier product,” she said. “We have an extremely loyal customer base. I feel we’re lucky, but … is this price…

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