Grand Strand businesses continue feeling inflation pains as gas prices rise

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Some Grand Strand businesses say rising gas prices are making it a bit costly to provide customers their normal top-notch seafood experience.

Ted Hammerman, owner of Mr. Fish Seafood Market and the neighboring restaurant on North Kings Highway, said it has been a bit tough paying more to keep some fish items on the menu.

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

“Fuel surcharges go up as fuel goes up,” he said. “For us, we had always been constant.”

Hammerman says for quite some time, the fuel surcharge they pay trucking companies that are delivering their fish products had been steady.

But now, Hammerman says he’s seeing the price for some of the suppliers creeping up.

“[One company], they’re charging a flat $7 for the truck to pull into your driveway,” he said.

Hammerman explained that in years past, it was a few dollars less for that same deliverer. His goal right now is to keep those numbers as steady and as constant as possible.

But inflation is also impacting how much they pay for some of the fish.

“As gas prices went up, the price per pound, the purchase price for fish has gone up. It’s gone up across the board between 50 cents to $1 a pound. Keep in mind, that’s a whole fish. In filet form, at 50 cents let’s say it went up. That means that filets cost us $1 a pound more. I would hate for seafood to get to a point where it was many years ago as a luxury item.”

Other business owners, like Jeff Martini, are also feeling the impacts 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’s fishing for more money out of his 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 the restaurants. In the meantime, we buy off two other commercial boats. So basically, they’ve all gone up about $1 a pound, to help out with the gas. That kind of affects us a little bit. Nothing bad but it’s going up, little by little.”

Despite the gas price increases, Martini says their fish supply has been good - but they’ve had to make some price adjustments to offset inflation.

This includes various food and beverages items going up 50 cents to a dollar.

Martini says he expects the gas prices to continue rising.

“We’re just going to hang tight [through] the summer, and just wait it out,” he said.

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