PUNTA GORDA, Fla.- The Old Town Deli in Punta Gorda has built a reputation in town for selling a good lunch at an affordable price. In fact, it's one of the only places that you can come in and get a sandwich and a soda for less than $5. But the $5 lunch menu might not be around for long because gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. This is due to the fact that delivery companies have started to add fuel surcharges on to their delivery costs.
Andrew Behling, who owns the Old Town Deli, said that delivery companies are now charging him $5 a visit for fuel surcharges. "The problem with that is that I am a small store and I get like seven or eight deliveries a week," said Behling. It's not just food. Down the road at Good Tires For Less, owner Rodney Roberts has been struggling to keep his fledgling business running. "It's very hard. It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of hours," he said.
In the last two months Roberts had noticed fuel charges on his deliveries. In March he started getting the surcharges with $3 a visit and by April they had already jumped to $3.25. Roberts received two to three deliveries a day and he said that charge can start to add up. "There's not a lot of profit in a a tire anyway. When you add $3 and $4 per delivery, that takes away from the profit," he said.
Both of these business owners said they will hold out as long as they can to keep from passing costs on to customers, but how long they can hold out may depend entirely on the cost of gas.