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Last year, a case of eggs cost $60. Now this Colonial Heights restaurant is paying nearly $200.

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 16, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Mornings are always busy for Michelle Olgers.

"I'm a backyard farmer and I have a flock of bay yard chickens," Olgers said.

Right now, her chickens have become more popular than ever.

"It's dramatically different now because, last year, depending on the time of the year, I had more eggs than I knew what to do with," Olgers said.

However, Avian Influenza, which killed off a large portion of the nation's egg-laying chickens has sent egg prices in grocery stores on a dramatic steep rise.

"This year's strain has been different and more deadly and as a result, entire flocks of egg-producing chickens are having to be put down and it's a supply and demand thing," Olgers said.

Olgers has been selling eggs for about two decades. However, in recent months, customers have been more eager than ever when she posts on Facebook that she has eggs.

Last year, a case of eggs cost $60. Now this Colonial Heights restaurant is paying nearly $200.

"People were texting, can I come right over?" Olgers said.

"I was here yesterday right after church and the refrigerator was empty," Shari Maggi, one egg customer, said.

However, for Maggi, the cost is worth the wait.

"I'm going to pay $4 a dozen but I'm giving a gift of $5 cause I know the farmer works hard to create what I need," Maggi said.

At Keystone Grill in Colonial Heights, the egg business is big business.

"We get five to six cases a week. 30 dozen in a case, so 150, 180 dozen eggs a week," Randy Mansini with the Grill said.

Last year, a case of eggs cost $60. Now, Mansini says he has seen prices as high as $190.

With so many egg dishes ordered every day, every week and every month, the restaurant's bottom line is cracking with every egg cooked.

Last year, a case of eggs cost $60. Now this Colonial Heights restaurant is paying nearly $200.

"We had happened to make a small incremental price increase right towards the end of the year for the first of the year. But nowhere near enough to offset this, I mean, it's terrible," Mansini said.

Mansini said that if production doesn't gear up soon to drop the price of the eggs, they will have to adjust prices accordingly.

Randy says what does help his restaurant's bottom line is the volume of business being done at Keystone Grill. While he tries to shop around for the best price on eggs, he said there really isn't a big difference in price between the different vendors.

In the future, when chicken flocks are back and egg production kicks into high gear, Olgers said she believes her new customers will remain loyal.

"Once people try a home-grown egg, some of the folks that haven't had it yet, they're not going to go back to the supermarket so I think I've made some new customers, regardless of the price of the supermarket," Olgers said.

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