Local business owners lament minimum wage hike

O’FALLON, Mo. – Jimmy's Automotive in O'Fallon, Missouri says business is steady now but ownership has no choice but to raise prices to compensate for the state’s new higher minimum wage.

“I’m known for having the lowest labor rate in O'Fallon at $85 an hour. Everybody else is averaging $100. I bumped it up to $90,” said owner Jimmy Loveless.

With the passage of Proposition B back in November, Missouri's minimum wage increased from $7.85 an hour to $8.60 on Wednesday. It will go up 85 cents per year until reaching $12 an hour in 2023.

“I just had to let a guy go because minimum wage went up and his qualifications did not meet that kind of money,” Loveless said.

Loveless said he knows of several business owners in the state who’ve already raised prices on goods services to make up for the added payroll expense.

“There is a hardware store down the street; they had to let (some people) go,” he said. “I don't want to say a name.”

Jimmy's Automotive has been in business for eight years and has earned several community awards for customer service. Loveless said he hopes people will stay with him despite some increase in prices.

“My parts went up eight percent,” he said. “I hated to do it but I’m going to have to pay people more.”