Rising Gas Prices Affect Local Businesses 

With gas prices on the rise in Maine, many businesses in the area are having to make some hard decisions.”It’s hurtful for us to a certain degree and we have to pass on that cost to the customer and we hope that customers will understand that necessity that we have to do that to make sure we stay in business. We’d love to be able to give that free delivery, or, at least offer, how can I say, more of a value, but as the price of gas goes up, we have no other choice,” said Ricky Frye, owner of Chapel Hill Floral.While businesses like Chapel Hill are having issues with gas prices, other services that many Mainers depend on are feeling the pressure.Like Miller Drug in Bangor, which offers a free prescription delivery service.”We probably do more deliveries from our store then all the stores put together in maybe eastern Maine, or who knows, maybe the state, It’s three or four hundred deliveries a day and it’s a very important part of our business because many of our people are senior citizens,” said Bill Miller, owner of Miller Drug.With that many deliveries, within a 50 mile radius, plus the rising price of gas, it starts to add up. That has management considering minimum rides per day, or trying to consolidate rides to nearby areas.”It costs us $3.00 to make every single delivery.”For volunteer-based programs like Meals on Wheels, a service that delivers food to folks that are homebound, gas prices are have a major effect.”It hurts terribly bad. We’re having trouble recruiting drivers, we’re having trouble keeping drivers. We’re a non-profit organization. we do get a grant from the federal government and another small grant fro the state but it’s been flat-funded for more than ten years. You know, that ten-year-old dollar isn’t worth a whole lot right now with gas prices four times what they were,” said Ron Crone, Director of Nutrition Services at Eastern Area Agency on Aging.With no way to predict what turn gas prices might take, they are keeping optimistic that they will be able to keep up their service.”We’re going to do everything that we can to help these people and put meals on their plates,” said Crone.