High Gas Prices are Hurting Retailers

A lot of customers who frequent El Taurino in Angelina County come a long way for their meal, but the restaurant has seen a decrease in customers ever since gas prices increased to record levels.

To make up for the drop in diners, the restaurant is offering more specials to save customers money. Employees there realize every penny counts, especially the hostess who drives to Lufkin from San Augustine everyday to get to work.

Blanca Hernandez said, "I hope we have more people, more customers and gas goes down. It was going okay [until gas prices] went up to $3.00."

Business is also a little slower at Massingill's Meat Market. The store sits on busy Highway 69 in Angelina County, so customers who stop by come from all over to get fresh cut meat. Usually, more than 1,300 people a week buy beef, cheese and canned goods from the popular store, but now that number has dropped to about 900 customers.

"We've seen a big slack off more or less during the daytime hours," said operating manager, Chris Ward. "More people are stopping on their way home from work and picking up things - they're not making any special trips."

High gas prices aren't hitting all retailers hard, some stores said they're actually being helped by skyrocketing prices because fewer East Texans are traveling out of town to do their shopping.

Business is still booming at the Lufkin Mall. Managers said there has been a slight increase in business over the past few weeks because a lot of shoppers are spending money in local stores instead of driving to other retailers in bigger cities.