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WILMORE, Ky. (LEX 18) — From the big box stores to the brick and mortars, 2022 has been a challenging year for business owners.
According to one report from digital.com, inflation could force two in three small businesses to close by the end of the year.
In Wilmore, a longstanding grocery store hopes to beat the odds.
“Been here for a long time,” said Leonard Fitch.
Fitch’s family opened the Fitch’s IGA Grocery in 1956. Since then, Wilmore’s residents have come to rely on the store for a little bit of everything – from groceries, to a hot lunch, to a weekly bible study.
According to Thursday’s lunch rush customers, it’s Fitch himself who makes the store a staple.
“We feel like this is where they want to be and we want them to be here, and it's not necessarily just to buy groceries, it's a place of fellowship as well,” said Fitch.
Despite its longevity, the IGA has seen its fair share of challenges, especially this year.
“It’s gotten worse,” said Fitch. “We'd like to have the shelves fuller, we sure would, but the supply's not good and the money is, of course, more challenging.”
According to his daughter Stephanie, who oversees restocking and deliveries, the cost of everything has gone up.
“Delivery, refrigeration costs have tripled, we pay people more because you have to pay people more to get them to work. It's not just one thing, everything is more expensive,” said Stephanie.
Piggybacking off unprecedented times, the store is still struggling months after the pandemic.
“In a good year we break even, and we didn't even come close to breaking even this year,” said Stephanie.
They’ve gone to incredible lengths to keep their doors open.
“I had a beautiful corvette car that was very precious to me and I sold it and all that money has been given back to the business,” said Fitch.
He’d do it again if he had to.
“I want to be here as long as the Lord will let us be here,” said Fitch.
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