Grand Strand businesses continue to feel inflationary pains as gas prices rise

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) — Some Grand Strand businesses say rising gas prices are making it a bit expensive to provide customers with their premier seafood experience.

Ted Hammerman, owner of Mr. Fish Seafood Market and the nearby restaurant on North Kings Highway, said it’s been a bit difficult to pay more to keep certain fish dishes on the menu.

Hammerman says freight trucks deliver the majority of his fish, but some costs associated with getting trucks to his businesses are increasing.

“Fuel surcharges increase as fuel increases,” he said. “For us, we’ve always been consistent.”

Hammerman says that for some time the fuel surcharge they pay trucking companies that deliver their fish products has remained steady.

But now Hammerman says he sees the price from some of the vendors going up.

“[One company]they charge a $7 flat fee to have the truck park in your driveway,” he said.

Hammerman explained that in years past, it’s been a few dollars less for that same delivery guy. Its current goal is to keep these numbers as stable and constant as possible.

But inflation also impacts the price they pay for certain fish.

“As gasoline prices have gone up, the price per pound, the price to buy fish has gone up. It rose anywhere between 50 cents and $1 a pound. Remember it’s a whole fish. As a net, at 50 cents, let’s say it went up. That means fillets cost us $1 more per pound. I would hate for seafood to come to a point where it was many years ago as luxury items.

Other business owners, like Jeff Martini, are also feeling the effects of inflation.

Martini owns three businesses, Midtown Bistro, Bar 19 Twelve and Coconuts Tiki Bar. He says he uses a commercial boat to fish for two of the restaurants and now he fishes more money out of his own pocket.

“Gas prices have gone up,” Martini said. “We’ll spend the day fishing and we’ll use about 200 gallons of gas just to go offshore and back to get our fish for restaurants. In the meantime, we are buying two other commercial vessels. So basically they all went up about $1 a pound, to help with gas. This kind of affects us a bit. Nothing bad, but it’s going up, little by little.

Despite the gas price increases, Martini says their supply of fish has been good – but they have had to make some price adjustments to compensate for inflation.

This includes various foods and beverages up to 50 cents on the dollar.

Martini says he expects gasoline prices to continue to rise.

“We’ll just hold on [through] summer, and just wait,” he said.

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