NFIB New York Member Profile: Roseann Hotaling of Country Corner Café

Date: February 03, 2017

‘I feel very strongly that this nation depends heavily on small business and local business.’

Name: Roseann Hotaling

Business: Country Corner Café

Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

Employees: 15 to 20

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Country Corner Café is a big part of the community in Saratoga Springs. Roseann Hotaling discusses the evolution of her business, as well as some of the challenges she and other New York business owners face.

How did Country Corner Café come to fruition?

My training is in restaurant management, but I worked in institutional food service for a while as a dietary director in a hospital and nursing home, and I also did school food service. But my dream was always to have my own restaurant. When I had this opportunity, I was very excited to start a business back in 1991.

I like that the business I have is just breakfast and lunch. When I started my business my children were very young, so it gave me the opportunity to be home in the evenings with them, to attend their extracurricular activities and so forth. I liked having the opportunity to own my own restaurant to be able to express my creativity through what I do here, but it also gave me the type of lifestyle I really wanted to have.

Why did you become an NFIB member?

I feel very strongly this nation really depends very heavily on small business and local business. We employ a large number of people from our communities, and we try to network amongst ourselves as business people to do better things for the community and be good stewards to the institution of hospitality, particularly, because that’s where my interest lies. I feel very strongly that we’re one of the only nations in the world that fosters entrepreneurship and independent business and I’m very happy to be a part of that.

What I like about NFIB is that it supports us with lobbying efforts, and tries to get legislation passed that will allow us to continue our business over the years.

What policy issue is most important to you?

Probably my biggest concern in my business, and one of the hardest obstacles I face, is finding committed employees and finding people that are wiling to put forth the effort that is required in this line of work. It’s not easy work, and it seems to be getting harder and harder to find dedicated employees.

I don’t necessarily feel the $15 an hour minimum wage issue is maybe helping our cause, and that is a big concern of mine, that small independent businesses work on very thin margins, and we try to do what we can to entice employees and create a good work environment for our employees, and sometimes the regulations that are handed down to us are very difficult for us to deal with.

What’s the biggest challenge facing you and other New York small business owners?

I think a lot of us are very concerned with the minimum wage increase in increments they have set in New York. There’s also the family leave legislation. It just affects the packages we are able to offer to our employees, and how can we compensate for those increased costs and still remain profitable. I would say those are two of the issues that most of my colleagues in this area are concerned with.

With all the taxes and regulations that we’re bound by, there has to be something to help offset those increased costs.

“We have been celebrating our 25th business year, which is a milestone in this line of work. We’ve evolved over the years and continue. I’m very proud of the fact that we are a big part of the community in Saratoga Springs.”

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