Warren restaurant owner says she can't afford minimum wage hike - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Warren restaurant owner says she can't afford minimum wage hike

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WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) -

Families right here in our own backyard are having a tough time making ends meet and increasing the minimum wage could make it easier for them to put food on the table or pay the rent.  But could the increase be bad for small business owners who are just trying to keep their doors open?

"Right now we would have a line out the door and every booth filled," said Lisa Simos.

But that was more than 20 years ago when she and her husband first opened the Country Oven restaurant in Warren.  The great food and service has stayed the same, but staying in business is requiring a lot more sacrifice.

"My husband is here seven days, seven day doubles.  I come in and waitress five, six days a week," said Simos.  "We, at times, don't even get paid because business is down so much right now."

Now lawmakers are asking her to shell out even more when her family business is struggling to say afloat.  During Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama proposed raising the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour, and Michigan Democrats are supporting a bill to increase Michigan's minimum wage from $7.40 to $10.00 by 2016.

Supporters say it'll help struggling families and stimulate the economy, but small business owners like Simos say it'll break them.

"Our employees will always get paid before us, but to ask us to pay them more is hard.  I can't give another dime when I'm not even getting paid," she said.

Her hostess Rebekah says she gets it.

"If you want to increase the minimum wage here that's really great for me, but then my boss, it's not great for her," she remarked.  "If she has to pay them more, then that's more coming out of her pocket and then she might have to let people go."

"If I could pay them a dime more I would today," Simos said.

But as always she and her family will do they must to keep their labor of love going.

"Everyone keeps promising us that business is going to change, economy's going to change, people are going to come out again, people are going to spend money again.  Without jobs, they can't spend money," said Simos.

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