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Rob Roper’s commentary of July 26 makes some good points about the importance of small business to Vermont’s economy. However, Roper couches his argument in a way that seems to say that small business is in trouble in Vermont. He gives us the example of Benway’s Taxi in Burlington, which failed, says the proprietor, Wanda Robar, due to “the new health care laws, burdensome regulations”, etc. Then Roper goes on to tell us that the West Danville General Store closed after 100 years – but he offers no information about why. Then we learn the owner of the Weybridge General Store says “he might be next.”
So, in an 800-word commentary, Roper mentions just one example of a business actually going under where the owner claimed insurance costs, etc. as the problem. And, even here, the closing might well be for more complicated reasons. An article in the Burlington Free Press of June 18 mentions that Mrs. Robar’s husband and business partner for 30 years died three years ago. Is it possible that Mrs. Robar felt unable to continue on her own? Is it possible that using insurance costs as an excuse allows her to avoid discussing personal issues that brought about the closure? And why is it, if running a small business of this type is so impossible, that the owner of Green Cab VT in Burlington immediately declared that he was “aggressively increasing” the size of his operation to pick up the business Benway’s was dropping?
Apparently, there is at least one small-business owner who believes he can thrive in Vermont. Maybe things aren’t as bad as Mr. Roper would have us believe.
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