From chocolate to real estate, small businesses are trying to create inflation game plans

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Inflation rose to a pace not seen in 40 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Tuesday. That doesn’t just mean consumers are seeing higher prices. It also means the small businesses that set some of those prices are facing tough decisions, like whether they can actually afford to raise them.

For Kristin Thalheimer Bingham, co-owner of Dean’s Sweets in Portland, Maine, the answer is no, for now. “It’s a calculation, of course. We can’t read our customers’ minds,” she said. “But we do have a feel for the price point that we think they’re comfortable being in, so that’s really why we haven’t increased our prices.”

Still, prices of raw materials are climbing, and that means the pressure is mounting. “The cost of cocoa has gone up, prices for shipping have gone up,” Thalheimer Bingham said. “One of our sugar suppliers recently added a fee, probably due to gas prices.”

Maaike Fettah,…

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