As minimum wage rises in Virginia, some small businesses are ahead of the curve

Virginia News

HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Starting on Saturday, minimum wage workers in Virginia are getting a raise. Thanks to legislation passed last year, the minimum wage will rise statewide from $9.50 to $11 an hour.

This is just the first in a series of planned increases, already enshrined into law, that will see Virginia’s minimum wage rise to $15 an hour by 2026.

Employees making less than that are looking forward to a livable paycheck.

While some small business owners expressed hesitation over the increase, many say staffing shortages have already driven them to increase pay.

According to Tiffany Sherman, the owner of Quilter’s Corner in Midlothian, it took time to adjust to this change.

“It’s a little scary, especially since we went from $7.25 to $9.00 last year. I’ve always been above that mark, but just seeing it continuing to grow I do agree that people need a living wage,” she said.

Sherman says she was concerned about having to raise prices to accommodate for the payroll, but she was able to give all employees at least $11 or more.

Gary Weiner, the owner of Saxon Shoes in Short Pump, says his workers all make at least $11 already.

“We escalated wages to get our staff back and long term it may mean working with a few less people here,” he said. “A few less people paid a little better, maybe doing the job a little better.”

Weiner reportedly believes everyone deserves a livable wage.

“To retain people, you have to be on the better end of wages. Be a good place for people to work with management and provide them with more than just dollars and cents,” he said.

Employees at the newly-opened Eggs Up Grill in Henrico County also make at least $11.

According to Rob Thompson, the owner of the breakfast restaurant, their opening day was delayed two weeks because of staffing issues.

“It has been tough while you’re working through the pandemic issues in trying to hire staff. We’ve been real lucky at our first location. I would say we retained about 80 percent of the staff we hired,” Thompson said. “Over here on this side in Henrico it’s a little harder to come up to speed with our staff, but we’re probably at 75 percent.”

For more information about new laws going into effect in Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, click here.

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