At Grabow Hardware at 106th and Birch in Omaha, the recent spike in gas prices is directly affecting business, from inventory orders to sales orders to customer attitudes before they walk through the door.
“I would say the pace of that uptick (in demand) has slowed since the first of the year probably due to freight and fuel charges and what customers are paying for gas.”
Jay Grabow has owned the store for 18 years. Just this past year he was bought out by a larger store, but that still doesn't mean his clients, contractors and homeowners are not affected by increased fuel costs.
"Their fuel prices are up, that it's taking a bit out of their wallet and they assume as I do that it's been a confidence problem with consumers."
The mowing business doesn't have a safety net of reimbursed fuel costs, where for some, like Natural Touch Lawn, that could be as much as 15-20 percent of their budgets. It could mean losing higher paying yards.
"Sometimes it calls for losing customers that are further away," said Natural Tough Lawns' owner Kevin Dehart. "Again maybe giving them to somebody else, maybe trading off some jobs."
He says the business of cutting grass is saturated with competition, so he doesn't have the luxury of increasing prices to make up the difference. “We really can't, we really can't, there is just too many of us out here, we are just going to have to take it until prices drop."
Grabow thought about six months ago gas prices would decrease and clearly they haven't. With Memorial Day weekend right around the corner, traditionally the biggest driving weekend of the year, we won't see prices ease up anytime soon, something he and Dehart will both be keeping an eye on.