Jones Soda Company left Vancouver B.C. in 2000 to set up shop in Seattle, but the city’s recently-passed soda tax has the company considering its place in town.
“It’s kind of ironic,” Jones Soda CEO Jenifer Cue told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “I was part of the group that moved this company, in 2000, from Vancouver Canada because of anti-business type policies.”
“It would be better if we were in Canada right now than in Seattle,” she said. “That’s a shocking statement, but it’s true.”
Cue’s comment comes shortly after Seattle passed a soda tax. It represents a general anti-business sentiment Cue says comes from from city hall.
“Here in Seattle, I love this city,” she said. “It’s so innovative and I respect so many businesses here. I wish the mayor and the council members could get innovative themselves and create something that wasn’t so anti-business and didn’t consider the small businesses here in Seattle.”
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Seattle’s 1.75 cent per ounce soda tax is aimed at raising funds to close school achievement gaps for minority students, and to promote youth health.
“It’s not about children’s health, it’s about revenue,” Cue said, noting that the company and everyone she knows in Seattle is for better education. Jones Soda even runs high school photography programs.
Jones Soda and Seattle business
Jones Soda Company started in 1995 in Vancouver, B.C. Cue said she recently spoke with Canadian government officials and learned that there have been some changes up there since the company left; changes to make British Columbia more business friendly.
Currently, its operation is run out of Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood. The company is still small, and “scraping by” Cue said. Jones Soda is considered a premium drink, so it’s generally more expensive than other sodas on the shelf. The company also has national sales, so that will help them under Seattle’s soda tax. But Cue worries for the local distributors and retailers that carry their products. They are the small businesses that will hurt the most.
But according to Cue, the council is not concerned about those businesses.
“It’s this feeling that small business is the enemy,” Cue said. “When we first brought the company down from Canada, we were embraced as a small business, and were told to go for it. The enthusiasm was compelling. We left Canada because of the capitol tax program that was put in place was onerous for a small startup raising capitol. That has since gone away in Canada.”
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