Small businesses struggle amid egg shortages

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — For the first time since 1979, the price of eggs has risen nearly 600% in less than a year.

Finding affordable eggs anywhere in the Las Vegas Valley is becoming a big challenge for grocery shoppers and now restaurant owners.

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Kevin Mills owns the Omelet House, a breakfast joint with several locations in the valley. He says this sudden egg shortage, caused by an outbreak of bird flu, is costing him more to run his business.

“The main ingredient that I serve has gone up significantly in price,” Mills said.

That’s a staggering increase for a small business owner’s budget. Mills says the cost of the eggs rose from 58 cents a dozen to more than $7.

“‘Omelet,’ that’s in my name. It’s like Burger King without the burger,” Mills said. “I am very concerned about the supply chain and not being able to get eggs at any price.”

Mills says that he can no longer use his usual suppliers of eggs. Some are in short supply and some are simply priced too high. Instead, he forced him to buy eggs at the grocery store, but when he arrives, he often finds nothing but empty shelves.

For now, Costco has been saving its business, but Mills says it needs relief from the impact on its bottom line and business.

“If we don’t get any relief soon, we’re going to see less competition in the restaurant business, because they won’t be able to make it,” Mills said.

A MESSY SOLUTION: The reality of buying a chicken to avoid high egg prices

Mills is not alone in this fight. At Great Buns Bakery on the east side of town, they are struggling to deal with rising egg prices.

The bakery buys its eggs in bulk, says operations manager Deborah Morelli, and now pays $140 for 30 pounds. of eggs compared to $60 last year.

“In the last few months, it’s gone up an additional 4 to 5 percent,” Morelli said. “We’re definitely seeing a big impact in terms of our ingredients.”

That’s problematic for running a business where eggs are a primary ingredient in most of its products. At Great Buns, Morelli says they use eggs in everything from their lemon shortbread to their apple strudel.

NEVADA BUILT: Great Buns Bakery, the bread and butter of many Las Vegas restaurants and resorts

Great Buns supplies products to all of the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and many in the valley. Morelli says that he hopes that the price of eggs will return to normal soon and that support for the bakery will not stop.

“Keeping the quality, the freshness, the customer service, where people keep coming back,” Morelli said.

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