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updated: 2/17/2014 2:03 PM

Meeting for small business owners Thursday in Elgin

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Small business owners in Elgin will get the chance to sound off on the city's business climate at a meeting organized Thursday by two city council members.

The goal is to hear concerns and recommendations about what the city should start, stop or continue doing, Councilwoman Anna Moeller said.

Councilman John Steffen is the co-organizer; City Manager Sean Stegall will be present as well.

The feedback is necessary to "make sure the city is doing what it can to ensure that we're friendly to small businesses, that we're supporting small businesses, that we don't have regulations that may be overly burdensome, that we're customer service-oriented and make changes where we can," Moeller said.

One potential issue is that Elgin doesn't have a point person for small business owners to reach out to, Moeller said.

Small businesses have provided 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all net new jobs since the 1970s, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Three downtown eateries have closed since late September, when the Italian restaurant Villa Verone closed. That was followed by Ravenheart Coffee in November, and On the Side Restaurant and Catering in mid-January.

The closures weren't necessarily the impetus for the meeting, Moeller said.

"In some of those instances, it wasn't anything that the city could have done or not done. It was just a matter of the individual business owner and the issues they had."

Thursday's meeting will only be the beginning of the discussion, she said.

"It's not like, 'Come and vent,' and we're gone," she said. "This is a long term discussion."

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the former Villa Verone location at 13 Douglas Ave. in Elgin. RSVP to Moeller at by Tuesday.

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