Area business owners express their outlook on the potential rise in minimum wage

By Emma Allen | Aspiring Journalist
Delta Digital News Service

Delta Digital News contributing reporter Emma Allen interviews local business owners about the impact of a potential rise in the federal minimum wage. [3:02]

Reporter: President Biden announced in his stimulus package plan, when first running for president, that he would attempt to introduce a $15 an hour minimum wage.“Although this didn’t pass, many businesses had something to say about the rise in minimum wage.

Heidi Kennedy, Management trainee at The Refinery

Reporter:  Heidi Kennedy, management trainee at The Refinery explained the impact the community makes on their business and what it is like to be local.

Heidi Kennedy: “I am Heidi Kennedy;I am a management trainee. I just started about a month ago, so I am just learning the basis of what goes on in the store. We’re local, we do a lot of Arkansas, Jonesboro, and Red Wolf merchandise. We dress a lot of girls for gameday,so we keep a lot of red and black in stock. We have a t-shirt line called 2303, and we do a lot of designsand partner with other businesses for that.We actually pay pretty well as far as a part-time of full-time salesperson, so I don’t think it would have a horrible impact on us.”

Allie Wilson, General Manager of Workout Anytime

Reporter: “Workout Anytime Hilltop’s General Manager, Allie Wilson, explained how much this new minimum wage could affect her employees and their business if it was to pass.

Allie Wilson: “My name is Allie Wilson. I am the general manager at Workout Anytime Hilltop. I graduated Arkansas State with my bachelors in Exercise Science and whenever I started here,I realized exactly whyI picked Exercise Science. I understood why I picked my degree. I understood why God didn’t allow certain things to happen for me because this is where I was meant to be. We are a franchise butbeing locally owned we get to do a lot of things differently. We’re all passionate about the community because we live here. We want it all to be successful. The three guys who own it, who actually are from Jonesboro, they have built multiple different businesses in Jonesboro because they want the city to become better. Everybodywho works front desk works for minimum wage. If that was to go up to 15 dollars an hour, that’s what I make. We have eight people on staff, that wouldn’t be an option. You would have to cut them. You would have one full-time employee plus me. If minimum wage went up, that’s going to increase the price of training. I would maybe have to fire over half of my staff, which wouldn’t be successful.”

Maggie Laws (Employee at Montessori School of Jonesboro)

Reporter: “Others who are working for minimum wage right now are excited for the possibility of the rise in pay in the future.”

Maggie Laws: “My name is Maggie Laws. I am from Bryant, Arkansas, and I work at the school of Montessori in Jonesboro. This would affect my job tremendously as I might not have to work as many hours.”

Carri White, executive vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce
Reporter: “Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce works with local businesses throughout the community to improve their business. Carri White, Executive Vice President of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce spoke about the different types of businesses that will mainly be impacted by the rise in minimum wage.”
Carri White: “I know that the hospitalityindustry is what it is really going to affect, because traditionally they have been set upin a different way to pay. So,I am talking restaurantsmainly. If it’s a big restaurantthey may have a hundred different employeesthat it takes to run that many shifts. So,I think that is the main opposition to it. I don’t know as much about it in the corporateworld because most of our industries, our manufacturing facilities, aroundhere pay well. So,I don’t know it’sas big a concern. I’m surethere is a concern about that.”
Reporter: “Businesses small or large are going to be affected by this. Some will have a greater impact than others. Although minimum wage hasn’t risen yet, there is still a possibility in the future.

Emma Allen

Emma Allen is a junior in the multimedia journalism program in The School of Media and Journalism at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. You can follow her on Twitter. She can be contacted at: