LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)—Stamp ‘N Hand is a stamp and gift shop that's occupied the corner of 4th and Pearl Streets for more than two decades. The shop is owned by Margie Wanke and she employees between two and three part-time workers, to keep the shop open seven days a week.
"My employees are all very part-time," Wanke said. "They're not looking for a career here, they're just looking for a part-time hobby job that would give them some extra spending money."
Wanek says the President's proposal to increase in minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour would mean possibly cutting back on staff or working more hours herself.
"The last time and the times before that that they've raised it, I have had to cut back on hours. I've had to cut back on other things I was doing in the store," Wanek said. "I used to rent a water cooler, that's gone. I used to have cleaning people come in."
Anne Hlavacka, the director of UW-L's Small Business Development Center, says Wanek's situation mirrors that of many small businesses.
"So sometimes employers have to make hard decisions, how they're going to structure their employees, and whether they're going to keep as many employees, whether they're going to cut back on hours," Hlavacka said. "Obviously on the side of the individual who's receiving a higher pay, the plus for them is and generally from a practical standpoint is there's more money potentially in the economy and that will generate more money to be spent. The challenge that comes along with that is often prices might also be effected at the same time."
Wanek balances fairness to employees and sustaining business by accommodating her workers schedules.
"What I can offer them instead of high wages is I can offer them very, very flexible schedules," Wanek said.
Hlavacka says an increase in the minimum wage wouldn't be the end of most small companies, but it would mean adjustments in hours and budgeting.
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