Memorial Day Weekend is just days away and as businesses get ready to kick off the summer season, they're still struggling with pandemic-related problems.
Soc's Ice Cream, a local shop that's been around for 43 years, is for the first time barely keeping up the balance between their bottom line and family friendly pricing.
Customers are already cooling off with cones at Soc's in Saugus. But owners Paul and Sharon Cacciola are learning there’s a first time for everything, including a freeze on soft serve after they said a cyberattack impacted their supplier.
"We could not get chocolate soft serve mix and you know, full for about a month," Paul Cacciola said.
Soft serve is back on track, but the pandemic is still serving up significant problems.
"We've had supply issues with napkins, straws, I mean, simple little items where we can't get through our normal sources," Paul Cacciola said.
The supply issues have added extra stress for the Cacciolas, the husband-and-wife duo behind the business, forcing them to spend hours searching for items that were once easy to find and a whole lot cheaper.
"Every couple of weeks, a new item pops up like cups, you know, a certain size cup we can't get," Paul Cacciola said.
"There's shortage of gloves. And now we're trying to find gloves just so they can scoop," Sharon Cacciola said.
The cherry on top is the lack of change. They said banks will only give them a limited amount of coins.
"Any tips they make in coins, we we buy those coins back from them and we roll our own coins now," Paul Cacciola said.
"It's to the point where we have to actually shift our prices now because I can't give change," Sharon Cacciola
Now the owners are trying to navigate the costs of these changes to figure out how much they can eat without passing along a big upcharge for their customers.
"Our menu prices have gone up about 8% on average. But like I said, a lot of our materials have gone up anywhere from 5% up to 30%." Paul Cacciola said.
"You come here and a family of four gets, you know, for regular ice creams, it's still around $20. And we've we've made that kind of our goal," Sharon Cacciola said.
The Cacciolas are getting creative to offset costs by dropping their cleaning service and even picking up landscaping duties. They said they will keep finding ways to work around these issues until there is either a return to normal, or they’re forced to increase costs again.