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Small Business Owners Meet with President Obama Today to Discuss Tax Policies

Interviews Available with Meeting Attendees from the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity

Submitted by: American Sustainable Business Council

Categories: Corporate Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Nov 27, 2012 – 04:38 PM EST


WASHINGTON D.C., Nov. 27 /CSRwire/ - President Barack Obama will meet with 15 small business owners to discuss the impact of tax policies today, Tuesday, November 27. Four of the participants are affiliated with the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity:

  • Mandy Cabot, CEO and co-founder of Dansko Inc, an award-winning footwear company headquartered in West Grove, Penn.;
  • Lew Prince, managing partner and co-founder of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis, the largest independent music store in the Midwest;
  • David Bolotsky, CEO and founder of the award-winning UnCommonGoods in Brooklyn NY;
  • Nikhil Arora, co-founder of Back to the Roots, an urban mushroom farm in Oakland, Calif., recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30, BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 and CNN’s 10 Next Gen Entrepreneurs. (Bios below.)

Cabot, Prince, Bolotsky and Arora are among more than 600 business owners and executives who signed a letter sent by the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and Business for Shared Prosperity (BSP) calling on Congress to end costly Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent and reinvest in America.

“We’re not here asking for anything for ourselves,” Mr. Prince said. “We’re here because we want the best for our country. I’ve run a small business for more than 30 years. Expecting high-income tax cuts to trickle down as job creation is like pouring gas on your hood and expecting it to fuel your engine. It’s time to stop giving tax breaks to wealthy households and big corporations, and reinvest in America.” Prince is a leader in Business for Shared Prosperity.

“The record is clear that lower tax rates for the highest incomes don’t generate better job creation,” said David Levine, CEO of the American Sustainable Business Council. “We should seize this unique moment to end these tax cuts and drive investment in our infrastructure, education and other critical areas that strengthen our economy for long-term job creation.”

In the Letter to Congress, the business leaders said, “In the last decade, we have been cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans and underfunding vital programs to pay for them. Large and growing budget cuts have had a severe impact on business, particularly micro and small business and job creation – reducing funding for infrastructure improvements, community economic development programs, housing, job training and much more. America’s failing infrastructure is starved of funds and falling further behind our global competitors. … The high-end tax cuts are hurting our economy. It’s time to end them, not extend them. This would be an important step in rebuilding an economy that grows our small businesses and middle class.”

To schedule an interview with White House meeting attendees and other business owners who signed the Letter to Congress, please contact Bob Keener, bkeener@asbcouncil.org, 617-610-6766

Nikhil Arora

Nikhil Arora is co-founder of Back to the Roots, an urban mushroom farm in Oakland, California. Back to the Roots has been recognized in Forbes 30 Under 30, BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25 and CNN’s 10 Next Gen Entrepreneurs. Back to the Roots grows gourmet mushrooms and mushroom kits sustainably on 100% recycled coffee grounds. Back to the Roots diverted 1 million pounds of coffee ground waste from Peet’s Coffee in 2011, has grown its team to 24 people, and now sells its Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Gardens at more than 1,500 retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods and Home Depot.

Offers in hand, Nikhil Arora and co-founder, Alejandro Velez, were headed into the corporate world during their last semester at UC Berkeley in 2009 when they came across this idea in class a couple months before graduation, fell in love with the waste-to-food model, and decided to forego careers in investment banking and consulting to become full-time urban mushroom farmers. Nikhil and Alejandro are working to build a movement that can connect everyone with their food again – green thumb or not! Arora is a member of the Social Venture Network, a partner in the American Sustainable Business Council.

David Bolotsky

David Bolotsky is the founder and CEO of UncommonGoods, an award-winning online marketplace headquartered in Brooklyn, NY, offering creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices. Dave spent twelve years as a retail research analyst for Goldman, Sachs & Co after graduating from the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he managed the school's record store. Finding the retail landscape of the late 1990s homogenized by mass-produced merchandise, Dave recognized an opportunity. Out of his interest in artistic creativity, individuality and social responsibility, he founded UncommonGoods in 1999, which now has more than 100 employees. UncommonGoods is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council and Business for Shared Prosperity.

Dave is personally committed to improving education for less-advantaged young people. He is a member of the Board of Advisors of Comprehensive Development, Inc. (CDI), a non-profit organization that works with an innovative NYC public high school to provide tutoring, legal and medical advice, job placement and homelessness prevention to its student body.

Mandy Cabot

Mandy Cabot Co-founded Dansko, Inc. in 1991 with a single shoe design and now serves as its Chief Executive Officer. A single shoe launched a comfort phenomenon. Dansko now offers sandals, boots, heels, flats and many, many types of clogs, with all-day comfort infused into every design. In 2012, Dansko announced a transaction in which all shares of the company were redeemed, including those of the founders, Mandy and Peter. All of the shares in the company are now held by a new ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), resulting in a 100% employee-owned company. Dansko is a business member of the American Sustainable Business Council.

A founding B Corporation, Dansko believes people, community and planet should be right up there with the bottom line. That’s why Dansko gives their staff paid time off for volunteering and uses only renewable sources to power their LEED® Gold Certified Pennsylvania-based headquarters. The Dansko Foundation is dedicated to giving back to the community through employee sponsored grants and service projects to charitable organizations that demonstrate in word and in deed, a benefit for human kind.

Lew Prince

Lew Prince is managing partner of Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis. Vintage Vinyl is the largest independent music store in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country. In 1979, Lew and his business partner, Tom Ray, pooled about 300 records from friends and got a $20 booth at the local farmer’s market. 33 years later, their current store (records, CDs, DVDs and more) is 7500 square feet and occupies an old movie theater in the Delmar Loop, the most economically and racially diverse neighborhood in the St. Louis metropolitan area. They host about 150 live in-store performances a year. They have been selling internationally since 1984 and were one of the first record stores with a website.

Vintage Vinyl now has two full-time people who handle their mail order business. Lew and Tom have 24 employees, always pay more than minimum wage, offer fully paid healthcare to the families of their 15 full-time employees and think it’s only fair that employers share their success with the people who do the heavy lifting for the company. Lew is a leading member of Business for Shared Prosperity.


The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) and its member organizations represent more than 150,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers and investors. ASBC informs and engages policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org

Business for Shared Prosperity (BSP) is a national network of forward thinking business owners, executives and investors. BSP produced the report, The Business Case for Restoring Tax Rates for High-Income Taxpayers to Pre-Bush Levels. BSP is a member of the American Sustainable Business Council. www.businessforsharedprosperity.org

For more information, please contact:

Bob Keener Media Relations
Phone: 617-610-6766
David Brodwin Communications
Phone: 415-647-2221

For more from this organization:

American Sustainable Business Council


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