Minimum wage set to increase January 1st

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

In just a couple of days, minimum wage employees in Colorado will see a small boost in their paychecks.

But as 11 News reporter Brian Shlonsky shows us, two local employers he spoke with say that boost may go virtually unnoticed.

I spoke to the owners of Red Mango and Culinary Corner, and they told me that wage increases are just another part of owning a small business. Now, both stores have about 15 employees, about half of whom will get raises at the start of the new year.

The two owners told me that even with the increases, it shouldn't cause prices in their stores to go up.

16-year-old JT Brand has his first part time job at Red Mango, and he makes just over minimum wage.

And like most 16-year-olds, JT has his hobbies.

"Artsy car racing, the one ten skill, electric."

And his expenses.

"College, just maybe some spending money."

But starting January 1st, JT's hourly pay will go up, by about 14 cents.

"Employees have been very good, they're productive and efficient when they're here, so they really understand especially in our slow season that we do have to cut labor," Red Mango owner Mandey Murray said. "But they do such a great job I don't feel like it's going to affect us hugely. "

For the second time in as many years, Colorado's minimum wage will increase, going from $7.36 to $7.64 an hour.

Despite the increase, two small business owners in Grand Junction say it won't be enough alone to drive up their prices.

"It by itself no, but added to the additional costs in marketing and the expenses of getting merchandise in, freight, you know it does all add up," Culinary Corner owner Beth Zanski said.

Rising wages for the lowest paid workers will force wages of some of the other workers at culinary corner to also go up.

"If we hire a new person, and that person is suddenly making more money, then they're all going to have an increase, because you try to keep it fair between someone who's been here three years, and someone who's been here a month," Zanski said.

Mandey hasn't owned Red Mango for long, and says the wage increase is just another part of the learning process.

"It's been interesting, and these are just all new things to me being a new business owner, so I'm kind of just learning as I go."

And as for JT, the extra 40 bucks he expects to see a month might just go to one of his other hobbies.

"I have a Silverado I just want to get stuff for, a lift kit."

Colorado's minimum wage last went up on January 1st of last year,
going up twelve cents.

Seven other states will raise minimum wage on the 1st.

After taxes, a full-time worker making minimum wage would see about $500 more over the course of 2012.

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