A local business owner in Chicago says rising property taxes in some of her community’s newest neighborhoods have made her hesitant to open a store.
But she’s hopeful the trend will turn around and she’s confident her community will eventually be able to embrace small businesses.
The neighborhood around Lakeview Village has been struggling since the start of the Great Recession, with property values plummeting and a new mayor saying she will be the one to fix the city’s problems.
It’s a sentiment echoed by the owners of Little Village Chicago, a coffee shop and restaurant that opened its doors last summer.
“There’s a lot of negative feelings, and I think we’re just really trying to focus on doing things the right way and that’s been a huge challenge for us,” said owner Sara Guevin.
I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced a more negative situation for the community, and that just feels like the perfect storm to create a little bit of chaos.
But despite those frustrations, Guevins hopes the city will eventually get to a point where she can open a shop.
Guevin says the local economy has improved since the recession, but that the housing market has been hard hit.
And in some neighborhoods, she says, prices have skyrocketed.
She said the local coffee shop, for instance, went from $7 a cup to $5.
So far, the neighborhood’s residents are holding out hope.
At Little Village, customers order at the counter and wait in line, though it’s difficult to get a good view of the customers, since the shop is in the middle of a vacant lot.
People don’t want to come to the store for coffee because they’re not feeling very good, she said.
With the prices in Chicago rising and the community’s economic growth faltering, the owners are hopeful the city can find a way to accommodate small businesses in the future.
We want to get the people to buy our coffee, she added.
Chicago is experiencing an economic renaissance, with the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series and President Donald Trump’s approval rating soaring.
Its a great time for the people of Chicago to be growing their own food, said Guevil.
That includes Little Village.
This is one of the places that we have a lot in common, and we’ve always been in love with our neighborhood, she continued.