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As national prices rise, local small business shines light on affordability and sustainability

A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows there's been a 5 percent inflation on everyday items over the past 12 months.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — If you've felt like prices on everyday items have gone up over the past year, you're not wrong.  A new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics said there has been a 5 percent inflation on items over the past 12 months.

That's the largest increase since 2008. 

Nationwide, things are in short supply. Lumber, ketchup packets and chlorine are just some of the things consumers are having a hard time finding. If you're lucky enough to find what you need, chances are it's more expensive.

The data said everything from air fares to bacon and eggs is pricier because of the pandemic.  Grocery store prices peaked last spring and still haven't gone down. As more people travel, get back to work and add on to their homes, demand is high. 

It comes at a time when more than 118,000 are filing for unemployment in Tennessee.

Some local businesses are working to combat rising prices. Knox Fill, based out of Knoxville, is one of them. 

Over the past two and a half months, Michaela Barnett has been busy filling orders for her new environmentally friendly business focused on sustainability.

KnoxFill was created to offer better alternatives to wasteful products in and around the Knoxville community. 

"It's completely circular, low waste and local," she said. 

Barnett cares about making the community a more sustainable, safer, and equitable place through her small business.

The company sources personal and household products from other local businesses using a recyclable container system. 

As everyday item prices continue to rise, Barnett is determined to keep her business' prices low. One of the ways they've managed to keep low prices is by purchasing in bulk, she said.

But that's not the only way she's keeping prices affordable. She also isn't getting a salary. 

"I'm not taking a salary at the moment and I probably won't for a while because I care about making this business sustainable, successful and accessible," she said.

Experts said the rate of inflation will fade, but the prices may not. 

"I'm really proud that we've been able to keep our prices so affordable for our customers," said Barnett.