New minimum wage law creates conflict for small businesses

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COLUMBIA - Some mid-Missouri businesses say coming increases in the minimum wage will create problems.

The Missouri Department of Labor established an $8.60 wage to start Jan. 1. That's a 75 cent increase. Voters recently approved a measure to make the minimum wage $12.00 by 2023.

While supporters say the minimum wage hike may mean more money for employees, some small local shop managers are concerned it will impact the longevity of their business. 

Among them is Russell Logston, the general manager of the Worley Sub Shop, which has been in business for 43 years.

"I know people need the money," Logston said, "But there's got to be a better way to do it." 

Logston said staggering the wage increase helps a little bit by buying the owners and management some time. 

Some employees of local businesses say the concerns are being overstated.

Paul Gerhart, who works at Coffee Zone in downtown Columbia, said business owners' resistance to the minimum wage hike doesn't make sense because the more people make, the more they spend. 

"Its been proven in history that when the lower class has more money, it's better for everyone," Gerhart said. 

While the change doesn't start until January, Logston said it could result in fewer employees and longer waits for service. 

"We work with small crews now – working with smaller crews things could get really interesting back there" Logston said.