Randy Yohe Published

Unique Situations Influence W.Va. Inflation Challenges

People shop at a grocery store in New York City.

West Virginia is seeing many of the same, and some quite different, situations in surviving rising inflation rates.

West Virginia Retailers Association President Bridget Lambert offered several examples. She said people are holding on to their automobiles longer because new models aren’t available. She said this is helping out state automobile parts stores and repair shops.

On the other hand, she said with the state’s rural nature, getting basic goods and services becomes more costly for many families.

“Just shopping for groceries in some areas can be a very long trip, up to an hour, to get to a full service grocery store,” Lambert said. “And it can be very difficult for consumers to make those trips.”

Lambert said more families are making monthly rather than weekly trips for groceries.

She said in West Virginia the ability to get goods and services to the customer has changed in other ways.

“The industry now highlights curbside deliveries and pickups for customers,” Lambert said. “They can order and make one trip and it’s delivered right into their car. They don’t have to go into the retail establishment any longer. And let’s not forget how many people are now utilizing delivery to their own front door. All this is here in West Virginia to stay.”

Lambert said more families are making meals at home so grocery stores are benefiting from increased consumer demand and restaurants are feeling the pinch.

“I think the restaurant industry will rebound to a certain point,” Lambert said. “But I think consumers still will be watching the bottom line and will be cautious and limit their number of visits to a restaurant.”

Additionally, she said with rising fuel costs, many West Virginia public transportation entities are cutting back on upgrade plans.

Some possible good news, Lambert said many seasonal items that sat in California crates last year are now doubled up in many stores. So, if you need lawn furniture or garden tools, you have choices.