A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found 56% of business owners say inflation has a substantial impact on them.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Kerri Hubbard opened Studio 221 Interiors in West Columbia more than two years ago, she never imagined having to close its doors. 

Hubbard’s business survived the pandemic, but rising inflation is something her business cannot overcome. 

“Our prices to us at least doubled on items and then doubled in shipping as well,” said Hubbard. “A chair we sold six months ago for $699 we had to increase to $999 just to make the same profit.”

While Studio 221 is not closing until September, Hubbard has already begun a closing sale, with red and yellow signs in front of the store announcing that “everything must go.”

Hubbard isn’t alone. A recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found 56% of business owners say inflation has a substantial impact on them and 35% say it has had a moderate impact on their business.

However, South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Frank Knapp said those factors are not always to blame for a businesses closure. 

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“A lot of small businesses simply don’t make it. Have nothing to do with the pandemic or inflation or the labor shortage,” said Knapp. 

For owner of Vampire Penguin Columbia Wayne Pricket, it was the lack of foot traffic and sales that drove him to close the business down on July 17. 

“We grew every month until April,” said Pricket. “We had our best day on our last day.”

According to the Small Business Association, small businesses employ nearly half of the country’s workforce. Knapp said small businesses have a huge impact on the local economy.

“We often say a dollar spent in your local economy circulates three times,” said Knapp.

While many entrepreneurs are struggling, it is not stopping new businesses from opening across Columbia. New restaurants like Boku and Silk Lounge & Restaurant have opened in the Vista, as well as Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint and FuruSato Bento restaurants in Five Points. 

“Business is going great to be honest, despite obstacles a lot of places are facing right now,” said FuruSato Bento employee Dorrion Craven.

Craven said that high foot traffic is allowing them to maintain their low prices. He said they are cautiously optimistic about the future. 

Several states, including South Carolina were approved for a piece of nearly $10 billion in relief money being distributed by the federal government to promote small business growth.

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