Small businesses prepare as minimum wage goes up Jan. 1

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CLINTON, Wash. — Starting January first, Washington state’s minimum wage goes up $1.53 to $11 dollars an hour. That increase will impact some small businesses who are attempting to survive.

Whidbey Island noodle restaurant, Island Nosh has only been open for two months.

“The community has caught on to what we’re doing,” said Scott Pendell, owner of Island Nosh. The family owned business has ten workers, three of them earning minimum wage.

Starting January 1, those three workers will be getting $1.53 raise to make $11 dollars an hour.

“So obviously it’s going to impact our whole industry, that’s a lot of people being impacted by it,” said Pendell.

In November, Washington voters approved Initiative 1433, which requires the hourly minimum wage to go up each year until 2020, when it reaches $13.50 an hour.

It’ll also require paid sick leave for employees.

Restaurant owners Scott and Stephanie Pendell are in favor of workers making a livable wage, but they say workers have different levels of experience and it isn’t as easy as raising the wage.

“I don’t know what the answers are but I feel like they’re making a black and white issue out of something that has a large gray area,” added Pendell.

The Pendell’s still aren’t sure just how much the new law will affect them yet, but they’re ready for the changes.

“The amount of money we pay people will go up and obviously that decreases the amount of profits we can make. I feel like we positioned ourselves well, as well as we can. We’re doing the best we can,” said Pendell.

Other places around town we spoke to are also making changes. Some of them told us they’ll have to cut hours while some say they’ll have to let workers go, just to stay in business.

“I think a lot of people are in the same boat, thinking; I’m not sure how to adjust to this but I’m on my toes now and when it comes we’ll do what we can,” said Pendell.