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'Harrel's Soda Fountain'raises prices due to inflation

After more than 100 years of serving residents affordable food, iconic Kingsville restaurant announces price increases
Posted at 7:41 PM, Jan 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-12 20:41:42-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After years of trying to keep prices down, an iconic business in Kingsville announced it's making changes because of inflation.

Nick Harrel III, took over his family business in 1981 and is the current owner of Harrel's Kingsville Pharmacy.

Towards the back of the pharmacy's gift shop, you'll find 'Harrel's Soda Fountain', a local favorite known for its cheap prices and delicious food.

"I remember this as a child coming here and how fun it was and I felt very special to be able to come in here. I used to get the enchiladas and that's what I got today and the ice cream soda," said Ruth Boldt, a long-time customer of the Soda Fountain.

Harrel said the restaurant has expanded since it first opened. He said the original Soda Fountain seated about 25 people.

Now, it would take about 75 people to fill its capacity. After more than 100 years of operating, the Soda Fountain has become a staple in the City of Kingsville.

The impacts of inflation:

On Jan. 9, Harrel's Soda Fountain posted on Facebook that customers would start to see a slight price increase on the restaurant's menu.

Harrel explained that the increase averages about 20 to 30 percent. For example, a hamburger that may have cost about $2.75 has increased to $3.75. He added that the impacts of inflation caused this recent move.

Economists say inflation is expected to ease as we move deeper into 2023.

The price of bacon, steak and avocados have been falling in recent months.

However, prices have yet to let up on other grocery stores' staples like flour, bread, and milk.

Chicken, coffee, fruits and vegetables are also shrinking consumers' wallets. Eggs are serving the biggest blow. The national average for a dozen is more than double the price in 2021.

It's also a product that has been more difficult to find.

Experts say food prices have been impacted by severe weather, labor shortage, and Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine. The deadly avian flu is what mainly impacts the soaring prices of eggs.

Economists say high egg prices could remain for several months.

"I don't like raising prices. We operate on products available and have good products and we try to sell it inexpensively with good quality products and it's finally overrun us now. We've even put off, for the last two to three years even raising prices," he said.

Community's reaction to the price increase:

What was supposed to be bad news caused by inflation, showed how the community of Kingsville rallies around their fellow neighbors to help them thrive.

Jane Mendietta said her mother used to take her to the Soda Fountain when she was a young girl. After a doctor's appointment, she'd go to the restaurant for a special treat.

"Milkshakes!" she exclaimed. "The doctor would always tell my mom or dad after an appointment; you better take her out for a milkshake."

Mendietta said she hardly noticed the price increase. Customers told KRIS 6 News, the memories they made at the Soda Fountain are priceless.

Even if they have to pay a little more for a meal, they said they'll continue to show their support.

"The price increase is not that much. This place is a classic," said Mendietta.

"If I was mainly in this to make money, I could probably take this out and have a lot less headaches. But it makes you realize you're doing what you should be doing. I'm very blessed to be in Kingsville, Texas," was Harrel's response to the outpouring of encouragement.