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by Ellyn Fortino
3:58pm
Thu May 30, 2013

Struggling Small Business Owners Seek Help From Cook County Commissioners

Chicago small business owners and Northwest Side residents say local businesses are dying off, and they need Cook County officials to intervene. 

"We, of course, have been slaughtered in the recession in the last four to five years," said Mark Thomas, owner of The Alley Chicago, at a Cook County economic development forum Thursday morning.

Thomas told Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and Commissioners Edwin Reyes (8th) and John Fritchey (12th) that landlords should see some sort of tax incentive to encourage them to rent space to local businesses rather than chain stores.

Elise Doody-Jones, a small business owner in Logan Square, added that rents are too expensive. The high rents are a burden for neighborhood businesses and can often discourage small business owners to set up shop, she said.

Larger corporations generally do not move their businesses into communities until they feel the demographics and income levels are right, she explained.

"It's really the small businesses who run on a shoestring that step in," she said. "But the rents are too high because the property taxes are too high."