Coffee shop manager condemns AZ Supreme Court minimum wage ruling

Coffee shop manager condemns AZ Supreme Court minimum wage ruling

SIERRA VISTA, AZ (Tucson News Now) - In the debate over the minimum wage increase in Arizona, a shop like Broxton's Coffee only has to look to their neighbors when wondering how the change will hurt.

Squashed next to a big-box furniture chain on East Fry Boulevard in Sierra Vista, the coffee shop's manager said the impact will be much greater for their locally owned and operated restaurant.

Every order is made with a personal touch. It's what keeps customers coming back. But it could be pushing them away when the change hits their wallets hard.

"For us, it was really tough to swallow," said manager Candice Whittaker.

A tough pill to take for Whittaker, when she heard Thursday's decision.

The Arizona Supreme Court refused to temporarily block a minimum wage boost approved by voters that affects hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers.

The high court on Thursday rejected the request for a stay intended to block the increase until justices decide whether to take up a full challenge to the new law at their February conference. Proposition 206 was approved by 58 percent of Arizona voters in November. It raises the minimum wages from $8.05 an hour to $10 an hour on Jan. 1 and to $12 in 2020.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce sued, saying the measure didn't have a funding source for new state costs and illegally included a second subject, mandatory sick pay.

Thursday's decision was made in Phoenix, and was hard for those in Sierra Vista to fathom.

"Smaller cities like this like the smaller companies. They want to see smaller companies thrive," said coffee shop patron Jesse Rossman.

"We have our regulars who are coming in every single day that are the foundation of this place. They're putting a lot into it. And that extra $0.25 is going to affect them a little bit over the long run," Whittaker explained.

But every business is different. So while a place down Fry Boulevard like Hoppin' Grapes won't be hurt by the change, their workers believe the legislation is short-sighted.

"It is a small economy because it's a small town. So when something like that happens - I think - it can have an impact. I'm just waiting to see what the actual impact will be," Eric Potvin said.

For some, they hope the ultimate end never happens.

"It will be really sad if places like this go away," said one woman enjoying a drink at Broxton's Coffee.

Whittaker said the increase to Broxton's Coffee's beverage and food prices could happen as early as January 1, 2017.

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