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KTNV 13 Action News

Small businesses scramble amid egg shortage

By Abel Garcia,


For the first time since 1979, the price of eggs has increased by nearly 600% in less than a year.

Finding affordable eggs anywhere in the Las Vegas valley is becoming a major challenge for grocery shoppers — and now, restaurant owners.

BROAD IMPACT: Increases in egg prices add strain on Las Vegas farms, business owners and shoppers

Kevin Mills owns Omelet House, a breakfast spot with multiple locations in the valley. He says this sudden shortage of eggs, brought on by an outbreak of bird flu, is costing him more to run his business.

"The main ingredient that I serve has risen significantly in price," Mills said.

It's an astonishing increase for a small business owner to budget. Mills says his cost for eggs increased 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'm very worried about the supply chain and not even being able to obtain eggs at any price."

Mills says he can no longer use his regular egg providers. Some are in short supply, and others are simply priced too high. It's forced him to buy eggs from the grocery store, instead — but when he arrives, he often finds nothing but empty shelves.

For now, Costco has been saving his business, but Mills says he needs relief from the impact to his bottom line and his business.

"If we don't get any relief soon, we are 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 struggle. At Great Buns Bakery , on the east side of town, they're scrambling to deal with increased egg prices.

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

"In the last couple of months, it has gone up an additional 4 percent to 5 percent," Morelli said. "We are definitely seeing a big impact as far as our ingredients."

That's problematic for running a business where eggs are a primary ingredient in most of your wares. 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 provides goods to all the resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, and to many in the valley. Morelli says she hopes the price of eggs goes back to normal soon, and the bakery's support doesn't stop.

"Keep the quality, the freshness, the customer service, to where people keep coming back," Morelli said.

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