Chocolate, Coffee and Family: Rebecca’s Small Business Story
During Hillary’s first trip though Iowa in April, Rebecca — a small business owner in Le Claire — hosted Hillary as she met with everyday Iowans. They talked about strengthening families and small businesses. Check out Rebecca’s story below.
“I was impressed — she’s very personable. I’ve never been very political, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I was a young and busy mom. But she was amazing. You know, I had my preconceived ideas, but she was friendly, down to earth, and kind. She just had her first grandkid and the way she talked about her really touched me. I saw a softness in her. When she mentioned leaving a better world for her granddaughter, I thought about my own grandchildren.”
“There are 100 products at the candy shop that are made on premises. Some of my favorites are the white chocolate almond toffee with bacon, the salted caramel, raspberry wine truffles, and one of our most popular items: chocolate covered caramel potato chips — a product that folks begged me to open up the shop again for. And the peanut butter & snicker fudge — 7 layers of heavenliness.”
“Before 2006, we had seen a 40–50% growth in sales every year. In 2007, our sales began to drop for the first time, and by 2008, I had to make the choice to close down the business. It could’ve sustained itself, but it couldn’t support me, my four kids, and itself. Part of going back into business was putting a plan in place to not make mistakes again. You don’t have that much control over growth if you have a good business — it’s hard to control demand & subsequent growth. That’s one of the most difficult aspects of the job, figuring out how much debt and risk to take on.”
“I’d been burned. So I found myself a co-owner — Jen, a friend of mine, who had retired from AT&T in 2013. We worked on tightening up our business plan and opened that same year. I’m a more confident business owner and woman now. A year after the chocolate shop re-opened, we opened the Jones St. Java House.”
“I’ve loved to cook since I was 13. I’ve got a God-given talent for putting ingredients together, and I love watching people enjoy what I consider my art. My kids were ages 2 through 10 at the time. I could pop in and out of the house and business, and the kids would help out sometimes. Now, my 22-year-old son runs our coffee shop, and one my daughters, who’s ironically a dental assistant, helps out at the chocolate shop.”
“I wish there was more help and easily accessible information out there for small business owners. Everything from lower loan fees to tax breaks for middle class business owners should be on the table. The Small Business Administration could also do more — the closest office is in Des Moines, a 3 hour drive away!”
Hillary has pledged to be the small business president. She understands that small businesses in our communities are the way to get the engine of our economy going. By cutting red tape for small businesses, we can help them grow and flourish. Hillary believes we should be helping folks invest in their communities — not making it harder for them.