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Hamsa Ramesha/MEDILL


Local businesses putting stock in Obama

by Fui Tsikata
Nov 05, 2008

The more things change the more they stay the same. But some small business owners and managers hope President-elect Barack Obama is able to manifest the change that he has promised in his economic plans.

In exit polling data released by CNN, a majority of voters, 63 percent, said the economy was the most important issue they considered in voting in Tuesday's historic election.

“Business is down 30 percent,” said Jim Verros, owner of Marquette Inn restaurant at Adams and Franklin in the Loop. “I’ve got 32 employees and I am thinking of closing the place.”

Verros said he voted for Obama because he hoped for a better leader. “We think he’s going to do better than the other jackasses.”

George Paras, manager of the Venice Café in the Sears Tower food court, said, “I want to see people get back jobs.” Paras thinks turning around the economy will be without a doubt Obama’s first priority because “everyone is hurting.”

Paras also said, “I have 18 people working for me and I may have to lay off some of them if things don’t get better.”

However, the manager of the Hallmark store on Adams Street, Aurora Rojas, doesn’t foresee Obama’s tax policies making or breaking her profits. “I don’t think it’s going to be a big difference for us.”

Nevertheless, Chicago store owners want a better economy as fast as possible.

“I hope as soon as he can,” Paras said. “The sooner the better.”

“He can’t just come and fix it,” said Rojas, with a note of caution. Suggesting the expectations are too high, Rojas added “He might not be able to fix everything.”

Verros thinks that it will take six months to a year before any change trickles through to small business owners like himself.

Still, Verros believes in Obama. “I love that guy and I hope he helps us.”