WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Inspire BBQ is a small carryout and catering business on the H Street Corridor, and its owner is voluntarily paying his workers $10.50 an hour – two dollars an hour more than D.C.’s minimum wage.
"As a Washingtonian myself, we know the cost of living is outrageous, and it's even harder to do coming from the communities we come from on $8," says owner Chef Tate.
And this kind of perspective is something that his workers value.
"I've grown up here my whole life," says one. "I really don't want to leave, because if you don't have the money, you have to leave."
Chef Tate is joined by about a dozen other businesses who are now offering a living wage ahead of a proposed legislation by D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells. And it comes after D.C.'s mayor vetoed the so-called Wal-Mart Bill last month, which would have forced large retailers to pay $12.50 an hour.
But some small businesses that already operate on the margins are saying they simply cannot afford to pay their workers more like Chef Tate does.
But Chef Tate insists "there are ways where you can find ways to lower your costs." He personally cuts back on his own profit margins.
"At the end of the day, we realize that when this young guy does well, we all do well," he says.