Marketplace Op-Ed Series: Red tape can slow, but not stop a great product and business

By Debbie Pruneri McKeown

This story originally appeared on TheBlaze.com

This column is part of our ongoing series of op-eds this election season from small business owners working with The Marketplace by TheBlaze. We often hear politicians talk about what small business owners want, and if elected, what public officials could do to help these entrepreneurs. But we haven’t heard enough from small business owners themselves. This series will feature small business owners discussing their business, ‘how they built that,’ and what it has been like trying to sustain and grow their business over the last 4 years. 

I retired in 2006 from a 30-year career with GTE/Verizon. In January 2009, I began researching and laying the ground work to begin my new business. I originally wanted to produce “homemade” sausage and pasta sauce, inspired by my father, renowned for his sausage varieties. I quickly realized meat product, refrigeration & health regulations in California were going to be a huge hurdle. I settled for packaging a selection of  my father’s original “seasoning blends”, along with a selection of Balsamic Vinegars & Olive Oils.

In April 2009, Migliore Gourmet Distributors became an LLC, with the help of Legal Zoom.

That was the easy part. I then needed money. Initially, I used money from my savings, but soon realized I would need a business LOC or loan.  I went to my local banker of 20+ years, but was turned down for lack of years in business, needed to show profit and they would not consider my personal “retirement/401K” portfolio as collateral. I could not use my house either, because my business would be out of my home, not a business building. I called my contact at my local Chamber of Commerce to find a chamber member in banking, only to be told the same thing. I could not find any assistance for “small business (SBA), or woman owned/minority business. Eventually, I did receive a business LOC from the Bank of North Dakota located in Scottsdale, Arizona, which happened because of family friendship with the VP of the Bank. However, two years later, BNC was taken over by another small bank, that converted my LOC to a 4 year TERM Loan! Therefore, my business LOC comes from my personal credit cards and balance transfers when necessary.

To introduce my products, I began seeking trade shows, i.e., Home Shows, Fairs,Festivals, Food Shows, Home Parties – I would try just about any venue to see what clicked! I quickly learned that I would need Health Permits, Food Safety Certificates & more, if I wanted to provide any samples of my food products. Every county and every city has a variation of rules and requirements, not to mention additional fees. In some cities, I am required to purchase a business permit, even if it is for one day. I have a business permit that was issued in my county and they require us to add our “temp” shows to our permit, which allows them to apply any sales tax made at the event, to the appropriate city/county. Some cities also require us to have a fire extinguisher in our tent/space and will conduct a fire inspection prior to the event.

In September 2009 I rented space at the Los Angeles County Fair. This would be my first and last experience with fairs. I hired (6) of my friends as “casual/contractor” show assistants. I had consulted with my CPA and understood I could have casual workers during the year, as long as they did not exceed $600.00. The State of California requires Worker’s Compensation, regardless of number of hours or wage, as long as you (the business owner) provide a time that the “helper” is to be in your booth. That cost me an additional $703.00 in Worker’s Compensation Insurance for 30 days!

In January 2010, I received my first Corporate Tax Bill for $880.00, which is an annual fee. Fortunately, I sell “prepackaged” food items, which are exempt from Sales and Use Tax. However, I have some “gifting” options, crafted bags, dipping saucers, baskets, which are taxable. After diving into the “rules”, I did find certain items can be tax exempt, if included in your food “gift” basket. However, 2011 the Board of Equalization changed their electronic filing tool, which included a long form “district tax.” After spending eight hours on line, reading and populating the tool, I asked my friend and former CPA if she could figure it out. She spent another 3 hours – failed too. I called the Board and did receive a person that was able to help me out. At the end of the day, I owed California Board of Equalization $6.40 Sales and Use Tax for 2011.

Moving past government cost and challenge, I needed to learn all aspects of my business, as the only “full-time” employee. Quickbooks is far smarter than the original debit and credit columns I was trained on in college accounting! Vendors, Co-Packers, Inventory and shipping have improved with pure customer experiences and volume demand.

Finding a reputable website host with good security was very important. This is another very time consuming part of my business. Maintaining, updating and reviewing the content of my site, is MY responsibility. Newsletters and social media are crucial to my business, so I have taken webinars and classes to stay updated.

I joined the NASFT (National Association Specialty Food Trade) in 2009, which provides great resources for small business. I have taken advantage of their membership discounts for shipping programs. They have on-line publications that have provided “free” feature space. At the NASFT summer and winter shows, we have an opportunity to set up meetings, Business to Business, with large companies that would not typically be easy to contact. For my annual $300.00 membership fee, NASFT has been a tremendous resource and one of the best “springboards” for my gourmet food items.

Entering 2012, I have formed (3) partnerships with other websites. Two of the websites specialize in “gift shopping” and have “free” membership requirements. Markdown is the third and most exciting website, providing fantastic exposure and opportunity. More importantly, it gives me of a great deal of personal satisfaction and pride to be a part of this organization.

Just as many other small business owners, I was offended by President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remarks in Virginia this past July, dismissing any credit of success being given to business owners.

He also stated “The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet”, which is also incorrect. In 1962, the (ARPA) Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Department of Defense did not wake up one morning and decide to build a network for companies to “make money.” It was another decade before email even became available to a select few large companies, mostly “defense contractor” related. Not until the late 80’s, did the NSF (National Science Foundation) realize the significance of the internet and commercial interest. Obama must have borrowed Al Gore’s playbook on the Internet!

The extreme-left idea that gender is "fluid" is a complete denial of science, according to sex researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Debra Soh.

Dr. Soh joined Glenn Beck on his latest podcast to talk about her new book, "THE END OF GENDER: Debunking the Myths about Sex & Identity in Our Society" and to offer a hard dose of objective truth about gender and sexual orientation based on scientific facts.

She also explained why she had to leave academia to be able to speak freely about sex and identity, and how — despite being a liberal — the far-left is actively trying to cancel her for saying there are biological differences between men and women.

Watch the video clip below or find the full episode of the "Glenn Beck Podcast with Dr. Debra Soh here.

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In February 2020, Glenn Beck and his research team uncovered an alleged multi-billion dollar money laundering scheme which lead to a missing $1.8 billion in U.S. aid sent to Ukraine during the Obama administration, all of which pointed to Igor Kolomoisky, the corrupt Ukrainian billionaire at the center of it all.

If you missed Glenn's February special, "Ukraine: The Final Piece," you can find it here.

This week, the FBI raided the offices of U.S. companies owned by Kolomoisky in Cleveland and Miami. Additionally, the Department of Justice accused the Ukrainian oligarch of stealing billions of dollars from PrivatBank and then laundering the money through a network of companies all over the world. Kolomoisky and partner, Hennadiy Boholyubov, owned PrivatBank until December 2016, when Ukraine nationalized the bank because billions of dollars had gone missing.

Kolomoisky has ties to the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma, former Burisma board member Hunter Biden, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose phone call with President Donald Trump was central to the Democrats' now-failed impeachment attempt.

On the radio program Friday, Glenn spoke with chief researcher Jason Buttrill about these latest developments.

"Yeah, $1.8 billion of [taxpayer] money that just vanished has now been found, or at least part of it, in Miami and Cleveland," Glenn said.

"I can't believe it's taken this long," Jason responded. "You said in February that [Kolomoisky] was the key to finding out where the money went. And we're talking about $1.8 billion dollars — $1.8 billion! That could finance a small war."

"That money went to PrivatBank — that's Kolomoisky's bank," he continued. "It was later nationalized after they found out all this money was mysteriously going missing. But it went through a bank in Cypress then, poof, it was laundered all over the world. [...] We also showed, in one of the previous shows, that there were wire transfers going from Burisma, which Kolomoisky is the managing principal of, to Hunter Biden."

Glenn and Jason also talked about recent reports from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alleging ties between American revolutionaries, such as Antifa, and Marxist terrorists in Syria, which BlazeTV exposed back in June. Find out more here.

Watch the video below for more details:



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The Federal Reserve is now doing two things it has promised never to do: purchasing our national debt, which has never been higher, and printing money, which leads to deflation. As a result, your money in the bank has already lost 10 percent of its value in recent weeks.

On the radio program, Glenn Beck explained how, thanks to the fed's poor decision making, our deficits have another dangerous effect: The United States' credit score has been downgraded, putting our country at risk of becoming an untrustworthy borrower. He also advises Americans to have at least a week's worth of cash at home, because a banking crisis could happen soon.

Watch the video below for more details:

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Black Lives Matter protesters sent a shocking, threatening letter to businesses and non-profits in Louisville, Kentucky. The letter made a series of demands related to racial reparations, and threatened consequences if the demands weren't met, the Daily Wire reported.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck detailed the letter's list of demands and threats, and pointed out that these tactics are strikingly similar to those we've seen during some of history's darkest chapters.

The letter, which was sent to businesses in the East Market District in downtown Louisville, listed demands such as ensuring that at least 23% of staff are black, providing race and inclusion training for all employees, displaying a written statement professing support for the BLM movement, buying at least 23% of inventory from black retailers, and submitting to external audit.

"Repercussions for non-compliance" to these demands will result in sit-ins and protests being staged outside the business, social media smear campaigns, boycotts, negative media attention, and "invasive reclamation," the letter threatened.

"So, I'm making quite a charge here, but I think it absolutely fits," Glenn said on the show. "Carl Kaufman, the representation that was used by Hitler and his machine, he convinced the youth that they were the answer, they would finally take control, and they would bring equality. [Kaufman said] the Jews controlled everything, and because of the Jews, the Germans really didn't have any freedom. Because of the Jews, they couldn't do anything. They were held down by the Jews. He said, 'We're going to have to boycott those stores. And if those stores don't comply, we will keep our storm troopers outside of the doors.' And they did. They intimidated anyone who walked into those stores. They berated anyone who walked into those stores. They beat anyone who walked into those stores."

"I told you once, that if America goes dark, we'll become the darkest nation ever in the history of the world," Glenn continued. "Guys, we're allowing our nation to go dark. And we're doing it because of fear. Everybody knows this is wrong, but who is going to stand up against it?"

Watch the video below to hear more from Glenn:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.