Bay Area businesses still in survival mode

Bay Area businesses still in survival mode

Before the pandemic, Papenhausen Hardware in San Francisco could make about $10 in profit selling a garbage disposal for $129. It wasn’t a king’s ransom, but it was the kind of transaction that has kept the place afloat and serving the West Portal neighborhood for almost 90 years — through earthquakes and multiple fires.

But with COVID-19 concerns increasingly in the rearview for many people, small businesses like Papenhausen are still locked in a struggle for survival, battling the immutable laws of economics and the permanent changes brought on by the pandemic.

That garbage disposal nowadays? Papenhausen owner Karl Aguilar said they don’t even sell it anymore. With inflation-pumped prices it would cost the store $150 just to get it on the shelves, let alone what it would cost a customer including a markup. And it’s unlikely anyone would buy it when the same item could be purchased online or

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