Delaware State News: Small businesses voice support for increased minimum wage in Delaware

By Olivia Montes
Delaware State News, June 17, 2021

Small businesses across the First State are preparing for the financial boost of the summer season — but business owner Courtney Sunborn is particularly excited about the passage of legislation to increase minimum wage.

“I really enjoy speaking on behalf of it as a small-business owner because it has proven to be an extremely valuable way of doing business for me,” said Ms. Sunborn, owner and founder of the natural cleaning service Ecolistic Cleaning in Lewes.

“It has helped my business grow and flourish because … it keeps long-term employees, and [they] not only are going to work hard and be happier on the job, but they actually refer their friends to us, so we don’t even have to go looking for new employees as the business grows.” ...

“(This bill) will be a significant benefit for businesses, for customers and for our economy,” said Alissa Barron-Menza, vice president of the coalition Business for a Fair Minimum Wage. “The minimum wage has really...not kept up with the cost of living and… $9.25 (per hour) is woefully inadequate.”

In addition to strengthening the relationship between producer and consumer, as Sarah Titus, co-owner of The Comic Book Shop in Wilmington, explained, the better the working environment is for employees, the more enthusiastic and productive they are during a day’s work.

“We’ve already seen from our own personal experience that you can take a little bit of the load off your employees and give them a little bit more,” said Mrs. Titus, whose business pays their employees above minimum wage. “They respond in kind: they’re happier, they’re more willing to do more (and) they’re invested.”

Ms. Barron-Menza agreed, noting that raising minimum wage boosts buying power.

“Businesses need that consumer spending now more than ever, (as) fair pay is also good business,” she said.

By continuing to acknowledge and evolve alongside the current workplace culture, the state of Delaware shows that it see the merit in every worker, and ensures that all are provided and protected, noted Kristen Deptula, owner of the Canalside Inn at Rehoboth Beach,

“I believe (this bill’s passage) will … put money back in the pockets of people who need it and need to spend it,” she said. “I really think that in the hospitality sector specifically, employees need a higher minimum wage…and it would just be nice if they didn’t have to worry as much about … how they need to pay their bills, and it’s important that small businesses have their back.”

The passage of the bill will be a significant shift in providing necessary financial security for both local businesses and employees alike, Mrs. Titus said. ...

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