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Joplin Small Business Owner Frustrated With City Business Permit - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Small Business Owner Frustrated With City Business Permit Rules

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Joplin, MO -

A Joplin small business owner is frustrated about having to reapply and pay for business licenses after relocating.  He says the only things have changed with his business were the addresses.  But the City of Joplin says those licenses are unique in more ways than one.

The owner of El Guapo's Cigar and Pipe Lounge says this is anything but a handsome situation.

"Growing your business in Joplin isn't necessarily a good thing," says Alex Menejias.

First there was the El Guapo's at 1409 South Main.

"Had I not had the support from my members and my regulars, I would've closed down already," says Menejias.

But instead, Menejias moved and expanded into a different building on South Main.  Good news for a small business owner.  Menejias says bad news when the City of Joplin said he had to pay for a new business license, even though the license for his previous location hadn't expired and he had recently made a quarterly payment to the City.

"Can I get my check back?  Can I get a refund on those other ones?  No.  It's paid for.  So pay us again," says Menejias.

El Guapo's has recently moved again.  Menejias says between his business' two relocations, he has lost about $400 by having to reapply and pay for new business licenses.

"Doesn't matter, if you're a small business owner, if it pulls out 100 dollars.  You've taken that out of the bills, the electric, the inventory," says Menejias.

Joplin's planning and development director says part of a business license is building safety.

"Maybe the health department will have to go out and do an on site inspection if they're serving food," says Troy Bolander with the City of Joplin.  "Definitely the building department and their staff goes out and looks at the building, makes sure it meets code."

Menejias says safety inspectors only spent a few minutes at his current facility.  He says the City needs to better prioritize the needs of people like him.

"You see all these big manufacturers come in, they (City) give them these tax breaks, these incentives because they're bringing all these jobs.  Where's the champion of small business like Joplin has always said they were?  I've never gotten an incentive for that," says Menejias.

Part of El Guapo's current business license includes a "Dance Hall fee."  Bolander wants to look into why that was required on this license.

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