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by Ramit Plushnick-Masti
THOnline.com

Pittsburgh — Small business is risky business these days.

Costs are rising, profits are shrinking and the ability of the big guys to keep prices relatively lower is drawing away customers.

Things are so bad that many small enterprises, which account for about 99 percent of the country’s businesses, say they are hanging by a thread that might soon snap.

“We are basically losing money every month, about $1,000 a month. It’s been about two, three months now,” said Tom Weisbecker.

Weisbecker owns Isaly’s in western Pennsylvania where patrons sit on green barstools at a Formica countertop and gobble the legendary Slammer, a sandwich stuffed with a half-pound of chipped ham and smothered in onions and cheese. Prices for many of those ingredients have skyrocketed in the past year.

“We know our customers are already feeling the pinch with the gas prices and when they go to the grocery store. We’re trying to hold out, but we can’t go on much longer,” said Weisbecker.

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