“My main business is to supply fabrics and textiles, raw materials, in the neighborhood, which is largely a Hispanic neighborhood. A lot of people buy our supplies, then work out of the house or a small business where they manufacturer products to sell.”

“This year, our assessment increased 540%, and we fear next year our taxes will see a substantial increase. We’re appealing, but if our taxes continue to rise at such high rates, there is a good chance they will be putting us out of business, and heavily impact the 200-300 other small businesses which rely on us.”

“They come to us for materials because we focus on closeouts, which allows us to sell much of our stuff below market. So, people are able to get the final product at a reasonable price and keep their businesses running thanks to the work we do to provide quality materials at low costs. So it’s good for us and good for our customers.”

“We’ve been doing this for over 40 years, and have been featured on local news and shows. Local tours even make it a point to stop and visit our warehouse. People love to come in and explore our 12 rooms of fabrics, materials, anything you could need to create, design your own clothes, shoes, or anything needing textiles.”

“I don’t know how many other people had a 540% increase. As I have talked to more and more small businesses, it seems almost as if businesses on residential streets are being targeted to go out of business.”

“When we bought the building, we bought it for very cheap because it was not in great shape. According to the assessor’s office, it’s now worth $3.5 million, which is of course total fiction. Nobody would pay that kind of money for this kind of building.”

“They’re assessing the building from the outside. Nobody comes in and looks at the crumbling walls, or all the items that need updates. We do all sorts of things to maintain it at all times. I recently paid for elevator repairs and all sorts of things. Yet, we never get any kind of credits or breaks for investing in maintaining a 130-year-old building. Every week, something else adds another huge expense.”

“And to get it inspected and reassessed would have to come out of my own pocket. I have no idea how the assessors got it into their head to appraise it for such a high amount. Adding more taxes on top of my existing costs to maintain and run the building would leave nothing for me to invest in the building.”

“If I went out of business, some of our customers could potentially find other distributors, but I think many would struggle or close because no one does what we do. No one around provides such cost savings to customers. The city stands to lose more revenue by taxing us out of business than they will gain.”

“I’ve always been a fighter, and I hope to be on the winning end of this one. Too many people depend on my business.”

“We are working with less staff, less hours and a lot of our customers went out of business because of COVID, so essentially we are only at two-thirds or 75% of the volume of pre-COVID sales. Even if we return to pre-COVID sales and covered our current costs, having to face such a huge expense though our expected tax increase would be, to put it mildly, extremely challenging.”

Shlomo “Sol” Lieberman
Owner, L.Z. Products
Pilsen neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois