Poll: most Americans favor small businesses


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Americans trust small-business owners for job creation more than large corporations, the president, and Congressional leaders, according to a recent Gallup poll.

Local Iowa City small business owners say that's because of the personal relationships among customers, employees, and employers they work to build.

"Employees are just numbers in large corporations," said Todd Thelen, the owner of Artifacts, 331 E. Market St. "I work directly with my employees and have the best interest in treating them well and making sure they're happy."

Thelen said he hired a full-time position this year and made sure the employee received full benefits, including vacation and insurance.

The poll showed that while 79 percent of American's trusted small-business owners for job creation, 52 percent trusted President Obama, 44 percent trusted Democratic leaders in Congress, and 43 percent trusted Republican Congressional leaders.

Bill Nusser, the owner of Hands Jewelers,109 E. Washington St., said large corporations have a "large credibility gap."

Joseph Sulentic, a lecturer in the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, said some executives of large corporations are more focused on their stock prices than their company.

"A lot of times, the large company executives' personal best interests are driven by driving up quarterly earnings in their stock prices," Sulentic said. "It is an incentive to lie and not be entirely honest with their company."

One member on the Outreach Committee of Occupy Iowa City said the protesters see the same trend with large banks, noting that some Americans transferred from commercial banks to local credit unions for Bank Transfer Day on Nov. 5.

Stephen Hoffelt said when large, "too-big-to-fail" banks lose money, they transfer their expenses to American people through bailouts, and local banks "keep people's money invested in the community."

"I do believe that small businesses are more trustworthy and better for communities than large corporations," he said.

Sheila Davisson, the owner of Revival, 117 E. College St., said many small-business owners try to give "honest and give upfront, concise answers" to their customers.

However, some small-business owners would like to put more effort into creating jobs.

Karen Kubby, the owner of Beadology, 220 E. Washington St., said she would "love to be doing more for job creation." At present, there are two part-time and two full-time positions in her store, she said.

"As downtown efforts continue and evolve, one of the ways I know that downtown will have some changes is when I start feeling it will be worthwhile to stay open late on Friday and Saturday," Kubby said. "It will define changes downtown, and I would want to hire someone for that position."

Some owners feel they are doing their best.

"We're certainly trying," Nusser said. "We have created a lot of business expansion."

Overall, being a familiar face in the community helps Americans trust small-business owners.

"People see us in the community, and when they come in, they see a high level of service in local small businesses," Kubby said. "And that repetition relates to building trust."

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