Canandaigua, N.Y.— During the winter, gas prices are typically low. That’s why the sudden jump in gas prices nationwide was unexpected.
In the Rochester area, gas prices are averaging at $3.96 per gallon. Many gas stations are already past the $4.00 mark.
For Todd Tarantello, the owner of Pizanos Pizza and The Villager Diner in Canandaigua, the increasing cost of gas over the last few weeks has been painful.
“Once you see that initial climb on the gas, you're like, ‘Okay. Here we go,’” he said. “As soon as gas goes over $4, everyone gets tighter [with their money] and everything gets tighter.”
The high gas prices are affecting Tarantello’s business during a time of the year that’s already slow in Canandaigua. People don’t start flocking to the lake until the spring.
Tarantello says each of his 15 food suppliers are tacking on more delivery fees and his employees are also being affected.
“When our pizza delivery driver takes the food [to a customers home], they are taking the food eight to ten miles round trip, which is half a gallon or three quarters of a gallon of gas and they are only getting a dollar tip.”
When gas prices go up, the customers also tend to stay at home.
“People you used to see three or four times a week, you only see two times a week because the money gets tighter,” Tarantello says. “They are spending money trying to get to where they have to go.”
The increasing cost of food is also adding to the problem. Tarnatello says everything costs more.
“Pretty soon we're going to have to put the menu up on a chalkboard because the prices change so fast,” he explained.
It’s a reality Patricia Hotchkiss is also facing. She has owned Patty’s Place in Canandaigua for 19 years. In the last five years, she hasn’t raised prices once but that’s about to change. She plans on increasing prices by a few cents and she hopes her customers will understand.
“It's discouraging,” she said. “I mean you work that hard all these years and it's discouraging.”
She says her suppliers have also added an extra $2 to $3 to their delivery fees and the cost of running her business is growing.
“I've never felt this scared. I'll be honest with you. I'm scared.”
Both Hotchkiss and Tarantello hope that the spring and summer brings in big business to help make up for the winter.