Letter: How Virginia can help my small business

Date: February 10, 2022

NFIB Member Tina Miller Pens Letter to the Editor

Recently, NFIB member and small business owner Tina Miller of Walkabout Outfitter, with 6 locations in Virginia, penned this Letter to the Editor. Her story apeared in the Roanoke Times, which you can read here

For the past several years, I’ve spent sleepless nights worrying: is my small business going to go bankrupt?

 

One of the regulations that Tina has deal with since the pandemic started was mask requirements inside her store, Walkabout Outfitter.

 

My business, Walkabout Outfitter, has six locations across Virginia, including in Roanoke. Some were in danger of collapsing under the crippling weight of COVID mandates, government shutdowns, and taxes. At every stage of this crisis, we’ve had to deal with lower sales, higher costs, fewer customers, and more paperwork. It’s crippling.

Small businesses are the backbone of Virginia’s economy. I employ about 35 people. All told, small businesses employ 1.5 million Virginians. The state wouldn’t be the same without us. Yet over the past two years, it seems like policymakers were out to destroy us.

 

Tina Miller, owner of Walkabout Outfitter, poses outside one of her 6 Virginia locations. 

 

The regulations were the worst. I have spent too much time following bureaucrats’ orders rather than working on my business.

Things got so bad, my husband and I didn’t pay ourselves for 10 months. We took care of our managers because it was the right thing to do. If we hadn’t had savings, Walkabout Outfitter would likely not be here.

I didn’t start a small business to fight with government about staying in business. When did small business become the bad guy?

 

The worst of the pandemic is past, but so many of the burdens are still weighing us down. That’s why I need our governor and state legislators to focus on saving small businesses.

First, give us tax relief. By cutting small business taxes, we’ll be able to come back stronger, expand and hire more people, and keep our communities moving forward.

Second, cut red tape. The pandemic mandates must go. Less regulation means more time and money spent helping my small business grow and hire.

Third, fix unemployment insurance. The state trust fund is low, and if it isn’t refilled, I’m looking at huge tax hikes. Virginia should use all the federal money it got instead of taking more money from my small business.

I’ve spent too many nights wondering if tomorrow’s the day my small business will go under. With the right help from our leaders, I hope to never worry about that again.

 
 

Tina Miller, owner, Walkabout Outfitter

 

Miller is highlighting NFIB’s Small Business Recovery Program, which launched earlier this year. You can read more about what NFIB is asking legislators to do to keep small businesses thriving in Virginia here

Related Content: Small Business News | Virginia

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