“We had a giant in our baking industry pass away on Saturday.

“He was just a few years older than us and to hear he died, it hit us hard here. I’m not a touchy feely kind of guy but I was in tears. I know it was because of compound stress.

“I am not blaming the governor or politicians. I’m blaming the virus. We were devastated. That’s where a little bit of my optimism got undercut.

“It has been insane.

“We just celebrated 60 years in October. My grandfather and father started this location in 1959 with their wives … and my grandfather ran his [original] bakery in the post-depression era. I think that was just as crazy.

“We are fortunate as a bakery that we’re an essential business, so we’re allowed to be open. We did OK last week. This week we’re off considerably. Somewhere around 50% [down]. I’m grateful for that remaining 50% because it’s better than 0%.

“We do accept phone orders. We are offering curbside service. We can do deliveries. We’re enforcing social distancing and people have been very appreciative of that.

“Our staff has been great, so I count our blessings.

“Industry-wide I keep my finger on the pulse, other bakeries, friends of mine. Some are in our situation others are devastated. They’re down 70% because they had a lot of wholesale to corporate, restaurants or schools.

“People should know [that] nobody appreciates the small businesses until they’re gone.

“We all need to support independent retailers, restaurants, bowling alleys, hair salons. We need those businesses, and not just because I am one. It’s because small businesses put the advertisements in the church bulletins. They contribute to the high school fundraiser. They donate the prizes for the auction of a cancer victim.

“I am not in favor of the graduated income tax, period. I’m not a Rauner, I’m not a Pritzker. My biggest opposition is that the commercials paint the picture of people like Rauner, Pritzker and commodities traders – that they’re going to get the really rich people. But if you graph out the income in our state, while they individually make a lot of money, they don’t possess the bulk of assets. We do.

“Those graduated tax brackets, with the increasing rates, will shift down and impact everyone.

“I would prefer for it to be taken off the ballot. I’m optimistic people would vote it down but the governor with his personal assets can flood the airwaves. We might have a hard time soliciting and creating commercials that show reality.”

Ken Jarosch
Owner, Jarosch Bakery
Elk Grove Village, Illinois