Brittany M. Sorrels
A survey of several downtown businesses in Staunton reveals double the support for President Barack Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney, but three of the ten polled refuse to disclose their voting preferences while one is undecided.
Those surveyed intend to vote, but the responses vary. Of the individuals spoken to, four support Obama and two support Romney.
According to the Wave Small Business Opinions Report which reviewed responses from over 300,000 users across the nation, more small business owners support Romney by a margin of 12-19%. This poll of Beverly Street small businesses shows a different result based on those willing to share their chosen candidate.
Some owners like Nancy Artley believe Romney’s business experience may help boost the economy. Co-owner of Arthur’s Home Gallery, Artley started her business with her husband John about five years ago when the economy started to sink. She hopes that Romney will mediate between the two major political parties, and with his leadership Congress may produce better results.
She is not the only one on Beverly to support the republican candidate. Linda Hanna, owner of The Emporium, also supports Romney because “we need somebody who has some kind of business sense to be running the country.”
On the other hand, Carey McCallum, owner of The Sacred Circle, also opened his doors around the same time, but he believes that Obama will continue to back the future of small businesses. McCallum says of the Obama administration, “I think we’re gradually moving in the right direction.”
Another Obama supporter Kristi Gorny, owner of Design@Nine, Tease Hair Design, and Head Over Heels, backs Obama too. Her upbringing by a single mother and early introduction to the workforce at the age of twelve has kept her motivated over the years. Her alignment with the Democrats comes from her trust in the ethical conduct of the president. Additionally, she believes citizens must have realistic expectations of their politicians.
Congress’ willingness to cooperate with the next president is also a concern of undecided voter Rebecca Schneider, manager of Turtle Lane. She watched all of the presidential debates, but she is not yet comfortable making a decision at the polls. Ultimately, she will vote, but she wants to be well-informed before visiting the voting booths on Tuesday.
Beverly Street acts as Staunton’s walking mall with an assortment of different stores and restaurants with one thing in common: the majority are small businesses locally owned and operated. The success of this strip of stores also attributes to the city’s overall success.
Residents familiar with this popular street know where to find the best parking, which antique shop has the best last minute costume pieces, and may even call the owners by name. Tourists enjoy the American Shakespeare Center and take in the atmosphere between shows. Mary Baldwin students also contribute to the local economy through their patronage at these shops.
Whatever the name of the next United States president, he is on the minds of all the downtown business owners here in Staunton. Small business depends on a good economy, and all eyes are watching the Oval Office for improvement.