­Bob Shearer

Chief executive

Shearer Foods Inc.

With consumer products like snack foods, one of our business’s biggest concerns is the cost of gasoline. The more people have to spend on gas, obviously the less they have to spend on comfort foods. We’re definitely very concerned about the cost of gas and what effect that has on the overall market. Over the last three years, our commodity costs continue to escalate. We’re trying to fight raising our prices because the consumer only has “X” amount of dollars to spend. It makes it tougher all the way around.

Because our comfort foods are not a high-dollar ticket item, we and our whole industry have seen growth during the recession. We do a lot of private label manufacturing. During tough times, people are looking to save money, so they look to private label.

I’m not somebody to paint a picture of doom and gloom and so I always try to look at the positive things in our business. We’ve been able to hire good people and have created 313 jobs within our company, including 127 in Northeast Ohio in the last year. That’s a positive for the economy. Northeast Ohio is a good place to have a business.