Almost a decade ago, my husband and I began experimenting with cider making as a hobby, scouring local farmers markets for the best apples to ferment. We never intended to start a small business, but through trial and error, we finally landed on a style we liked and launched Haykin Family Cider.
However, like many other owners of Colorado’s approximately 653,000 small businesses, the past few years have not been easy for our Aurora cider house. Supply chain issues and high inflation continue to pose new challenges, with prices in the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area up 7.7% year over year. In fact, a recent report by the Alignable Small Business Network found that 66% of small businesses in Colorado believe they are already in a recession and 28% believe they are in a depression.
As small businesses look to keep prices low to stay competitive, it’s critical that Denver-area residents challenge themselves to shop local when they can, especially in this upcoming holiday season. This not only helps support struggling small businesses in the region, but is also essential to reduce pressure on already strained supply chains.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Haykin Family Cidery was only two years old. Although the business was not as badly affected as some restaurants and entertainment venues, inflation and supply chain issues began to make it increasingly difficult to buy apples, pay for our HOA fees and shipping our bottling supplies to Colorado.
But instead of sacrificing the quality of our ingredients to offset higher fees, we’ve found creative ways to cut costs and streamline our operations. We started buying in bulk and leveraging fintech – a payment platform called Melio – to minimize late payments and wire transfer fees.
The high quality apples we use to create our ciders are what make Haykin Family Cidery unique. Despite the rising price of apples, we continue to use two ingredients – apple and yeast – and we refuse to betray our customers’ trust or compromise on our ingredients.
Still, it can be difficult to compete with grocery stores selling lower-cost products. We pay a fair price for our apples and never try to undercut our orchards, many of which are based in Colorado, but all of which are family owned. Ultimately, we know that our product is a partnership between producer and cider maker.
Haykin Family Cider is not alone. Across Colorado, many small businesses in the cider, beer, wine, and spirits industry are struggling to compete with the big name names.
Small businesses are essential to Colorado’s economy, creating high-quality jobs that employ nearly half of the state’s workforce. They also make up 99.5% of businesses in Colorado according to the latest data from the Small Business Administration.
If you have a choice between supporting a local small business and buying a product from a large online retailer, I encourage you to choose the option that will help fuel the local economy (many small businesses have online stores ). According to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and Commerce, 70% of spending stays in the local economy when you shop locally, compared to 40% when you shop non-locally.
The mutual support of Coloradans is deeply rooted in our culture. However, we still have a lot of work to do.
Whether it’s buying a bottle of Haykin Family Cider in Aurora or picking up a book from an independent family bookstore in Denver, now is the time for the local community to come together and support the small businesses that make up the backbone of Colorado’s economy. .
Talia Haykin is the co-founder of Haykin Family Cider in Aurora.
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