Penny's Demise Worries Small-Business Owners

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The federal government's budget decision to axe the penny seemed like a cost-efficient move, but small-business owners say it will affect your bottom line.

Manufacturing one penny costs nearly two cents, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said. The one-cent coin will be removed from the Royal Canadian Mint's production in six months.

It has also been a nuisance for many people but small-business owners worry the cost of re-programming computers and cash registers will be in the thousands. Many will also have to eliminate odd-numbered transactions.

"It will cost a couple of grand at every location," said Andre Kachi, who owns three Marcellos delicatessens in Ottawa.

"It's not going to make me happy. Somebody should take care of that, not me for sure."

Some shops will have to hire new programmers and warn there could be some hiccups, which may frustrate customers.

Changes could cost up to $4K

The owner of Ottawa's Café Le Monde estimates a $200 cost to reprogram his cash register. But pizza parlours, where prices usually end with 99 cents, the cost is expected to be $4,000. That includes changes to software, menus and signs.

"It's really bad. You know business is not like it used to be," said store owner Jassem Ganass. "We are already suffering and now they're making it harder for us."

Some charities have the opposite thought when it comes to the penny's demise. Many think people will get rid of the penny by donating them to charity.

Starting in the fall, businesses will be asked to return pennies to financial institutions. The coins will be melted and the metal content recycled.

In the meantime, Canadians can continue to use pennies to pay for things and the one-cent piece will retain its value indefinitely.

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