Energy Crisis Squeezes Smaller Firms That Power Europe’s Economy

Europe’s energy crisis is squeezing the small and midsize firms that form the backbone of the continent’s economy, leading some business owners to curb production or close up shop.

Katrien Vandenheuvel recently decided to shutter her family’s grocery store—nestled in a village outside Antwerp, Belgium—after realizing she needed to sell about 3,000 more loaves of bread every month to cover the higher natural-gas bills. The store had already been charging higher prices for pastries and cheeses than chain stores, she says. Hiking prices enough to cover expenses would have driven more customers away.