Small business owner Rod Dion’s 11-year-old furniture business survived the Great Recession, but a bigger challenge looms ahead: a $15 minimum wage hike.
NFIB Member Profile: Rod Dion of New York
Over 11 years of business, Rod Dion and his team of nine employees have supplied office furniture for companies as well-known as Walt Disney World. His furniture was even featured in scenes of the Oscar nominated movie, The Wolf of Wall Street.
In 2005, Dion started Tech Valley Office Interiors, a full service office furniture dealership in Albany, New York. Just five years later, he expanded the company and added a used furniture department called Nu2u. With these two divisions, the company provides office furniture, space planning, interior design, and moving services.
However, success in New York has been no easy feat for the small business owner and won’t get easier, especially with mandates of a $15 minimum wage looming in the future.
“The $15 hourly wage is very scary,” he said. “While that rate may be appropriate over time for New York City, it will devastate Upstate New York. Though most of my employees make more than that, the effect it will have on many businesses that buy our products could be potentially devastating.”
Aiming to offset the burden of a minimum wage hike on small businesses, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently proposed a $300 million tax cut. Yet, Dion said this tax cut will have little benefit to him and his fellow small business owners.
“Since most small businesses file as S Corps, the tax would only benefit large corporate businesses. They, by the way, are the largest contributors to the elected officials,” Dion explained.
In addition to the minimum wage hike, entrepreneurs in New York face a government not willing to listen to small business needs, according to Dion.
“Instead of our state focusing on taxes and overregulation to ease the business burdens, we run 150 million dollars in commercials a year telling outsiders how great our state is to do business, and that they can move to our state and not pay any taxes. Wouldn’t that money be better spent on lowering taxes of the businesses that are already here?” he said.
Despite these hardships, Dion takes pride that his business has survived “the most over-regulated, taxed, and frustrating states to do business in.”
“As they say, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,” he said.