Small Businesses Want Substance from Candidates

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While candidates covered many issues this weekend, the economy is clearly the priority for voters. But what are small business owners looking for in a candidate?

Bud Evans and his sister, Ann, run a feed and supply store in Derry, N.H., that their father started after World War II.

Over the years, it's become a popular stop for presidential candidates. Evans said he isn't interested in showmanship; he's looking for substance.

"We need to have steady leadership from the top because there isn't any," Evans told CBN News. "We need to be in a firm direction that we know what we're heading toward."

"There's no confidence and people are just stuck in neutral and it's just not getting better and people are getting very frustrated," he said.

After the housing boom busted, his family business took a hit.

"I did like Perry, but the in-state tuition for illegal aliens killed it for me because I can't work any harder," he said. "I can't support any more freebies."

Getting Creative

Evans also worries what the new health care law will mean for his business. 

At just over 5 percent, New Hampshire's unemployment rate is well below the national average. There's no personal income tax or general sales tax, but citizens are still feeling the pinch and small business owners are getting creative.

"I used to have a gift shop and when the economy bottomed out we decided to close the gift shop and just go to craft fairs," small business owner Jeffery Traverf said. "I make everything out of my mobile home right off the kitchen table."

Traverf said this year is "tougher" than last year so the presidential primaries are very important to him.

"I think that's going to have a huge bearing on the economy," he told CBN News.

Kitchen and bath designer Marie-Christine Minnix shared a similar story.

When people stopped building and renovating, she dug out her grandmother's Belgian waffle recipe and started her own business.

"It was all famine or finding something else to make my living with. And so [I began making] Belgian waffles on a stick. That's how it is," she said.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

New Hampshire small business owners say consumers are holding on to their cash and doing plenty of research before spending it. That's why Michele Holbrook feels fortunate. Her business, Michele's Sweet Shoppe, is growing.

"This is our caramel popcorn. We have what we call "an affordable indulgence," she said smiling.

Holbrook is interested in a leader who will preserve New England's entrepreneurial spirit.

"A lot of people out here are hard workers and they just have the drive to do something and the fact that they can't find a job, they're going to create their own job," she said.

Meanwhile, Evans predicted a heavy voter turnout for Tuesday's primary.

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.