Every day seems to make it harder to stay in business for Michelle Rogers, owner of Double R Country Store in Palm Bay, Florida. She and her father, Steve Rossi, teamed up 15 years ago to start an online warehouse that sells farm, ranch supplies and other goods, like wild bird seed and Amish-made baskets. With business humming six years ago, they expanded into a brick-and-mortar store.
The business, which employs six people including her husband, Lance, brings in $600,000 to $800,000 in gross revenue annually, according to Rogers. But given high overhead, it is hard to turn a profit, she said. Competing with giant retailers is an uphill battle, and the store is still recovering from a costly Internet fraud three years ago. Often, Rogers skips a paycheck so she can pay suppliers.
"It's hard to change people's mentality, when they can go to Wal-Mart and get things for half the price," said Rogers. "The big-box chains are surrounding us. They get so many different breaks and benefits that it's hard to compete."