Bookstore Owner Describes How San Francisco's Minimum Wage Increase Killed His Small Business

February 5, 2015

What happens when the minimum wage is raised to double the current federal level? San Francisco is providing a perfect example--and the results are not all that surprising.

Alan Beets, founder of independent bookstore Borderland’s Books, is closing his doors because the city raised the minimum wage to $15.

The bookstore, which employs five people, has weathered challenges such as bigger bookstores and online shopping, but the minimum wage hike proved too much to overcome.

"It's not that I can't afford to pay higher than minimum wage, but I can't afford to pay minimum wage that gets that high," Beets said.

Raising the minimum wage is a challenge for all small businesses, but the increased cost for owners is especially troublesome for bookstores. Beets said that while other businesses mark up their prices, shifting the cost to consumers, his product, books, has a price labeled on it so he cannot do the same.

"The long-term costs just end up getting too high," Beets said. "About two years from now, I will be running in the red. It will get worse from there."

Democrats have called for a nationwide increase in the minimum wage.

Republicans have argued that small businesses--the job creators hailed in every campaign--are the ones hurt the most by raising the required minimum wage.