Richmond Times Dispatch: Ward Tefft: Yes, Virginia — We do need a $15 minimum wage

Op-Ed By Ward Tefft
Richmond Times Dispatch, Feb 11, 2020. Also in the Culpeper Star Exponent and other papers.

I’ve been a business owner in Richmond for nearly two decades. I combined my love of literature and community and opened an independent bookstore in 2002. And what a time it was to take the leap. Virginia was still reeling from the 2001-02 recession and Amazon had been consecrated as the grave digger for the bookstore industry.

Oh, and from day one, I made it a policy to pay my employees more than the minimum wage.

Eighteen years later, Chop Suey Books, named for the old West Cary Street restaurant whose sign hung on the building, is still going strong — now in our second location in Carytown. We survived Amazon, the Great Recession and the dire predictions that reading, as a pastime and a pleasure, is passé.

Our longevity has become proof-positive to me of the value small business has in building and sustaining America’s economic and social life, and the value of paying workers fair wages.

It’s for these reasons that I strongly support raising Virginia’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, which lawmakers are currently debating.

There is simply no more direct and rapid way to boost consumer spending and strengthen Virginia’s business environment than to raise the minimum wage statewide. ...

Ward Tefft is the founder and owner of Chop Suey Books in Carytown and a member of Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

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Copyright 2020 Ward Tefft

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