“Moving away is always in the back of your mind. You’re always making a new game plan.

“Everything you do is about the business. If the business does not thrive, at a fundamental level you need to be ready to make a move because the business can be bankrupt almost instantly.

“I want state leaders to stop bleeding us. If they want small businesses and stores, they have to listen to them.

“Small business helps build the American Dream. You can do anything you want, but if the dream dies in your state, the dreamers will not go there.

“I hope we can survive our government. We want continuous growth, whether it’s in Illinois or not in Illinois. We need to grow to thrive, and we don’t want to get behind the 8-ball or be put there by the state.

“The bottom line is if you have to go, you have to go.

“A small-business person cannot be scared. I’m the frontrunner, and all my workers are behind me. I’m responsible to protect them and their ability to put food on the table. We approach every job like our life depends on it because it does. We protect each other like a shield, and don’t want cracks …

“But if government chokes you out, there’s no survival. The margin is so thin. Depending on your scale, a penny difference can equal millions of dollars at the end of the day. All businesses are the same, the percentage that lets you survive is the same no matter whether you are big or small.

“The taxes go higher but our expenses are still the same. We can only pass those costs on for so long and someday the consumer will not buy from us anymore. They’ll go someplace else like Missouri or Wisconsin or Ohio. Eventually the small company leaves.”

Tracy Ross
Co-owner, Fenix 5ive
Wood River, Illinois