Hatboro Snack Retailer Hosts Rep. Madeleine Dean for Feedback from Black, Female, Small-Business Owners

women around a table
Image via Racquel Williams, KYW Newsradio.
Rep. Madeleine Dean and the Black, female roundtable participants she met with in Hatboro.

The Black, all-female owners of Nutz About Popcorn, a Hatboro savory-sweet snack provider, described their ongoing COVID-19 struggles to a very sympathetic ear: U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean. Raquel Williams reported every important kernel of their roundtable meeting for KYW Newsradio.

Lynette Smith opened her shop in late winter 2018, identifying popcorn and sweets as an appealing line of retail that could engage her family.

Business popped along successfully until COVID-19.

Although things have gotten better as pandemic numbers eased, Smith explained to Dean that she and her associates are still feeling under fire. Her woes are common in the small business community: dwindling employees and rising supply costs.

Of the former concern, Smith explained to Dean that “A lot of the people that work for me have children that they now can’t afford to put into daycare. …The price is just outrageous.”

To the latter pain point (cost spikes), she admitted that she has eaten some of her retail losses but is finding that tactic unsustainable over time. She projected that she would soon turn to product price increases to stay afloat.

Another roundtable participant — CEO Cassandra Bennett of ComForCare home care, Bala Cynwyd — agreed that keeping employees today is tough. She has seen her retention loss rate go from 3 percent in 2017 to 60 percent today.

More on Rep. Dean’s informative day at Nutz About Popcorn is at KYW Newsradio.

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