Surveys show that small business owners are more optimistic.
LULU garcia-navarro, host:
According to several surveys, small business owners feel more optimistic than they have for years. The report says income increased. Homeowners are confident about the future of their businesses, and most believe the U.S. economy will grow this year. What drives the prospect of sunshine? Matthew Eastman, the owner of Lickity’s ice cream store in Lakewood Ranch in Florida, has joined the national small business association and ZipRecruiter survey, which has more than 1,600 people. He joins us now to talk about his business and what he sees in the future. Welcome to the show.
MATTHEW EASTMAN: thank you.
Garcia-navarro: first of all, it sounds delicious. Tell me something about you.
Eastman: my wife and I opened a small ice cream factory in 2014, full of natural ice cream or the natural ice cream we might get. We’ve started to develop franchises and introduce major league sports contracts, like Tampa bay lightning and now the Pittsburgh pirates themselves for spring training and…
Garcia-navarro: how many employees do you have?
Eastman: we now have six full-time employees.
Garcia-navarro: so why are you feeling so optimistic?
Eastman: we had a lot of trouble during the recession. When people don’t make money, they don’t spend it.
Garcia-navarro: of course they don’t eat ice cream.
Eastman: they don’t eat ice cream. So the more people there are, the more they come here, and the more people come from all over the world – the general increase in the economy. I think there is great confidence in the new government there. It looks like it’s a small business, you know? There is a window manufacturer next to where we are, and they are drowning. They say the same thing. You know, people have confidence. They didn’t stick to their money. They are investing it in the economy.
Garcia-navarro: I can ask you, do you vote for President trump?
Eastman: I didn’t vote for the Democrats or the republicans, because I was just – I had enough to come back. I used to be a soldier, so I support our President, whoever it is. But I didn’t like the personality, so I didn’t vote for either of them.
Garcia-navarro: some of the owners surveyed said there were concerns about health insurance costs and the lack of qualified workers. So, what are you concerned about that might hinder your business?
Eastman: these two things are the biggest thing in our business. Health insurance is incredible. And qualified workers – I think we need to do more training programs in our schools, rather than sending our kids to college. I mean, not everyone has to go to college. I think there’s a lot of emphasis on that.
Garcia-navarro: let me ask you – you feel this optimism. You feel good about the economy. You like the way things go. What does this actually mean? Are you going to expand?
Eastman: now we’ve just expanded our business. We doubled our size this year. We are currently working with the small business management and economic development council to try to build a larger manufacturing plant.
Garcia-navarro: we mentioned that you didn’t vote for trump. And I know you don’t want to be too politicized, but it’s all, especially business. What do you think of the President’s current management of the economy and overall?
Eastman: to be honest, he’s a businessman. Regardless of its personality – I really don’t care about his personality. But I got where he came from. I don’t know. I think I’ll vote for him in the future.
Garcia-navarro: this is Matthew Eastman from Lickity, ice cream in Lakewood Ranch in Florida. He joins us from our factory. Thank you very much, Matthew.
Eastman: thanks, lulu.