An inaugural list of nearly 200 business leaders throughout Colorado have signed a statement supporting Amendment 70 because they say raising the minimum wage is good for business, customers and the local economy
Denver, CO, Oct. 6, 2016 — Nearly 200 business owners and executives across the state, including numerous restaurateurs, have signed a statement supporting Amendment 70 – a ballot initiative that will gradually raise Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 and has sparked significant debate. Business leaders continue to sign on daily.
The Colorado Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Statement says that “gradually increasing Colorado’s minimum wage is good for business, customers and our local economy,” and that “increased pay means increased consumer buying power – boosting sales at local businesses as Colorado workers buy products and services they could not afford to buy before.”
Businesses in support of the amendment agree that low pay typically means high employee turnover. They see cost savings in hiring and training and less product waste with lower turnover. Businesses also see benefits in the form of increased productivity, product quality and customer satisfaction.
Business owners who signed the statement support Amendment 70 gradually increasing Colorado’s minimum wage, first to $9.30 on Jan. 1, 2017 and then by 90 cents a year until it reaches $12 in January 2020, and then adjusting it annually so the minimum wage keeps up with the cost of living.
“Raising Colorado’s minimum wage makes great business sense,” said Debra Brown, Campaign Manager of Colorado Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “Workers will spend their increased pay at local businesses, giving a $400 million boost to Colorado’s economy. Amendment 70 raises the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 gradually, giving low-paying businesses time to adjust and experience the benefits of a higher wage floor such as increased consumer spending, cost savings from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and more satisfied customers.”
Here’s what some of the business leaders who are inaugural signers on Colorado Business for a Fair Minimum Wage’s statement said about raising the minimum wage:
Richard Skorman, Owner of Poor Richard’s Restaurant, Rico’s Café & Wine Bar, Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts and Little Richard’s Toy Store in Colorado Springs:
“We raised our entry pay, and the doom and gloom scenario bandied about by those opposed to raising the minimum wage never happened. In fact, the opposite occurred – profits rose and labor costs actually decreased because employees stay with us much longer now. The longer they stay, the better they are at their jobs, and the money we save on training new employees is huge. Most important, our staff is happier. And happy employees mean more regular customers, which is the key to our success and that of most small businesses.”
Judy Amabile, Owner of Polar Bottle and member of the Board of Directors, Boulder Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Amendment 70:
“Raising our entry pay from $8 to $12 an hour has been great for our bottom line. Our employees are more productive. They can afford things important for them and our business like repairing their cars and securing more reliable child care. Turnover decreased dramatically. They value their jobs more. In fact, our per unit labor costs actually went down. As our experience in a highly competitive industry shows: Raising the minimum wage is good for business.”
Pete Turner, Founder of Illegal Pete’s restaurant chain in Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins:
“When we increased entry wages at our restaurants last year from $9 to $10.50 an hour, we did not raise prices. Our employee turnover dropped to 29 percent – which is very low for our industry – and we saved money in hiring and training costs. Our employees are a big reason we’re one of the nation’s fastest growing companies. Raising Colorado’s minimum wage will put more money in workers’ pockets, which they’ll spend at restaurants and other businesses around our state.”
Mike Hartkop, Owner of Solar Roast Coffee, Pueblo Small Business of the Year 2016:
“When you pay people a livable wage they become better consumers and much happier employees. When we raised our starting pay to $10, plus tips, our turnover dropped in half. Our employees provide excellent customer service and keep my customers coming back. If we raise the minimum wage and all businesses pay livable wages, I’ll sell more and so will other businesses. Better consumers, happier employees – that’s definitely a win-win. Our goal is to hit $15 by 2020. Certainly, $12 by 2020 is a reasonable minimum wage for businesses statewide.”
Bill Phelps, Co-Founder and CEO of Wetzel’s Pretzels:
“We’ve experienced strong sales growth after minimum wage increases. The increased cash circulating in the economy goes a long way in offsetting the higher hourly minimum. And businesses see other offsets as well, such as reduced employee turnover and increased productivity. Raising the minimum wage is good for our bottom line.”
Edwin Zoe, Founder of Zoe Ma Ma Restaurant in Denver and Boulder:
“Raising the minimum wage is good business and good government. The current minimum wage is not enough to make ends meet so workers turn to government assistance. When we raise the minimum wage taxpayers can stop subsidizing businesses that pay poverty wages. Workers put their wages right back into the local economy, which strengthens businesses and the community, and what’s more, raising the minimum wage will level the playing field for the countless businesses that already pay fair wages.”
Sarah Marcogliese, Owner of Native Earth Landscape in Lakewood:
“Raising the minimum wage is the right thing to do for employees, businesses and the economy. When businesses pay fair wages, employees have more money to spend at other local businesses like mine. And I know from experience that paying higher wages creates happier workers who stay with us for the long haul. That’s why I’m able to offer superior customer service, which has enabled me to continue growing and hiring. Raising the minimum wage throughout the state will enable Colorado’s businesses and economy to grow and thrive.”
Ryan Lowe, Owner and Executive Chef of Ore House in Durango:
“We pay our staff well above the current minimum wage because we want a well-supported, productive staff that ensures our customers come back again and again. If all businesses paid fair wages it would help level the playing field for businesses like ours.”
Dan Shannon, Owner of Gary’s Auto Service in Denver:
“I believe in an economy in which every participant, employee and employer, enjoys a level playing field. Raising the minimum wage is vital. Economic fairness exists when workers are fairly compensated for their labor, and large corporations are unable to offload the costs of their underpaid employees’ food, healthcare and other necessities of life onto Colorado taxpayers. Workers earning a living wage participate more fully in our economy as consumers, and that is good for business.”
Richard Carpenter, CEO of UltraSteam Cleaning in Durango:
“We’ve always paid well above minimum wage, as do many small businesses I know, because we need to attract and retain the best employees we can. And it pays off— we save money in the long run, have nearly zero turnover and some of the best customer service around. If everyone paid fair wages, it would level the playing field for small businesses that are being undercut on labor costs and strengthen the economy for everyone.”
Yoav Lurie, Founder & CEO of Simple Energy in Boulder:
“Higher wages drive better results, give customers more money to spend in our businesses, and create a better business climate. That’s why so many business leaders support raising the minimum wage.”
Erin Fletter, Owner of Sticky Fingers Cooking in Denver
“At Sticky Fingers Cooking, we pay a minimum of $15 per hour, and our amazing employees are our No. 1 asset. Since our founding in Colorado in 2010, we have expanded to three other states and we have no problem finding and hiring qualified staff to teach and lead our cooking programs. This is, in part, due to the fact that we pay well for jobs well done.”
Kyle Garner, CEO of Organic India USA in Boulder:
“We invest in our employees and their families. We see greater employee retention and engagement, and our employees invest in local communities by spending on products and services. Raising the minimum wage is good for our whole community.”
Carlos Alvarez-Aranyos, Founder of Boulder Transport in Boulder:
“Paying people well is about endowing their humanity — allowing them to exist comfortably and to dedicate themselves with equal passion to their jobs and their lives. I have no idea why any business owner would underpay an employee. After all, small businesses are only remarkable if their employees are remarkable, and that’s almost impossible for anyone if they’re constantly worried about money. For my business, the rewards of paying people fairly have far outweighed the costs, both in terms of performance and loyalty. And there’s no greater satisfaction than knowing I am doing everything I can to empower my employees and their families to live amazing lives. I stand with the effort to raise Colorado's minimum wage to $12 by 2020. It won’t just make our businesses stronger — it will also make our state an even better place to live.”
Tracy du Charme, Owner of Color Me Mine in Colorado Springs:
“The best thing for a local shop like mine is a strong local economy, and that means customers with more money to spend. The minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living. The economic boost to my community from raising the minimum wage will be good for my business.”
For the growing signers’ list in formation visit http://www.businessforafairminimumwage.org/Colorado-Signatories
To schedule an interview with a business owner who signed the statement, contact: Erin Musgrave at email@example.com, 530-864-7014 OR Bob Keener, 617-610-6766, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Colorado Business for a Fair Minimum Wage is the state affiliate of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, a national network of business owners and executives who believe a fair minimum wage makes good business sense. www.businessforafairminimumwage.org.
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