The news is out there everywhere that President Barack Obama visited Taylor Gourmet this morning. Why did he visit? For a small business roundtable. Did he eat anything? He took a Spruce Street sandwich with him. Did he make any other purchases? Sure, a bag of hoagies to take to his lunch with members of Congress — a lunch that CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reports Speaker of the House John Boehner found pleasing. So Taylor Gourmet is now officially both Obama and Boehner endorsed.
What was it like for the small business owners themselves? Taylor Gourmet co-owner Casey Patten shares his thoughts on Obama's small business proposals and provides some behind-the-scenes detail about the day the President of the United States wished him a happy birthday.
How long has this been in the works?
There were rumblings towards the tail-end of last week that it may be happening at our place. But obviously no guarantees. As the weekend went on and the Secret Service went through their typical process, we were hoping that it was going to happen. It seemed like there was a good chance. But we never really got the full confirmation this was going on. It was really, really cool.
You were planning to participate in the roundtable already?
Yes. We knew about the roundtable last week. When it was pitched to us we didn't know whether it was going to be at our place or somewhere else. But I think everyone came in, took a look at the site and I think they figured out it was a good place to have it. It represents small business pretty well.
So how did this morning go?
It was interesting. Today was my birthday, so one of the coolest things that happened, the President walked in the door and he shook David and my hands. And he looked at me and said, "I hear we have a special day today." And I responded back, "Yes we do, thank you so much for coming." And he looked at me and said, "No. Happy birthday." It was pretty cool.
And then we all sat down. There were a couple of us around this roundtable. Myself, David, the owner of Yes Organic Market and then a development company out of Anacostia. We all shared how we got started and then the President spoke a little bit about some of the proposals and initiatives he has out on the table and how they could help small businesses like ours. And then we all talked a little bit more.
Before the President sat down, he took a look at the menu and decided what hoagie he wanted to get. He got a Spruce Street. Then he took about six other hoagies with him. I believe he had a meeting with the leaders of Congress to further discuss the small business act he's looking to get passed. I believe they're going to be discussing that over some fine Taylor Gourmet hoagies.
Your first White House catering gig?
(Laughs) I don't know about that. But, again, it's a memorable day. It was super cool. And the fact it was my birthday and I got to meet the President and not only did he come in, but we actually got to talk about some things that are pretty important to us as well from a business aspect.
Yeah, what did you think about the proposals?
The pieces that are on the table, one of them is a 10 percent tax credit for new hires and wage increases. So if you bring in new employees you can get a tax credit, 10 percent back, on those wages as you grow, which will obviously help us bring some money in the coffers to continue the growth of Taylor Gourmet. And they also have on the table an accelerated depreciation program. So instead of having to get the normal depreciation schedule, it's out on the table that we could depreciate some of the expenses we incur when opening our businesses. 100 percent in the first year. So, again, it would allow us to continue to grow, continue to hire more people and continue to help a little bit with building up the new stores.
So you support his proposals?
I do. 100 percent. I hope it gets passed. I think it would be phenomenal, not only for myself and Taylor Gourmet, but I think it would be phenomenal for the restaurateurs in Washington, DC, as well as the restaurateurs throughout the nation. And more. Not just the restaurateurs but the other small business guys.