Birmingham bars thankful to survive 2022 with inflation, supply chain issues

Published: Jan. 1, 2023 at 10:37 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 1, 2023 at 10:38 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The past year was quite difficult for small businesses. Many owners say it was because of high prices and low supply.

Over the last year, WBRC reported on a lot of well-known small businesses in Central Alabama being forced to close their doors in 2022, but others found a way to keep them open.

“This year has definitely been a massive rollercoaster,” said JD Junkins, the owner of Steel Gastropub. “Like, some weeks are good, some weeks are bad.”

A lot of those bad weeks stemmed from record inflation, forcing the costs for most goods to rise.

“Juices have gone up in prices,” said Sophie Talbot, the general manager of Side Bar. “Everything has gone up in price!”

Another big problem was the supply chain issues.

“Plastic was just a disaster,” said Eddie Le, the general manager of Innisfree Irish Pub in Lakeview. “Cups were almost impossible to get. It was a huge issue. Every week I’d spend an entire day of my life looking for cups.”

“Some of our mixers that we put in the drinks are still out to this day,” added Junkins.

Those were only a few of the shortages. Junkins and Le said glass bottles and liquor were hard to find at times too like well vodka, well whiskey, and tequila.

So how did these bars in Birmingham’s Lakeview community make it through the months and months of hardships? They said ordering months of stock when items were available was key. Many of them also tried to keep prices low for the consumer when possible. Sticking hard to budgets was also important.

“Loyal patrons have been the key to it,” said Le. “That’s what’s gotten us through it, honestly.”

“Without them, we shut the doors,” said Junkins. “So that’s the big thing, to say thank you.”

All the owners and managers said they couldn’t thank their customers enough for being understanding through it all. Now, they’re just hoping for an even better 2023!

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