Illinois Lawmakers Must Support, Not Hurt Small Business
Local breweries have become a cultural staple in Illinois communities. Their presence and growth can help revitalize neighborhoods and downtowns by attracting new customers who then support other small businesses. For downtown Springfield, that was our hope when we opened Buzz Bomb Brewing in 2018. Unfortunately, the pandemic made that goal impossible as it became difficult for our small business to simply survive.
Over the past twelve months, our sales have fallen while some costs related to property taxes and customer and employee security have remained stable or increased. These financial strains have become commonplace for the state’s breweries, distilleries and wineries, all of which continue to struggle. While we have been fortunate to receive assistance in the form of Disaster Loans and the Federal Paycheck Protection Program as well as incredible support from the community and other local businesses, it will be a long path to recovery.
While we are optimistic as vaccination rates continue to rise and more customers return to our brewery, we are wary of any increases in taxes, fees or new regulations that would place unnecessary burdens on businesses. like ours and hundreds more in Illinois. These policies would reverse any progress made in easing capacity restrictions and further delay the return to normal.
We urge lawmakers who work just half a mile from the State Capitol to do what is necessary to support small businesses like ours and the beer industry in Illinois so that we can operate with confidence and help lead downtown Springfield and the state’s economic recovery.
Josh Flanders, Co-Owner, Buzz Bomb Brewing Co.