Question of the Month: Small Biz Community Weighs in on Soda Tax

Compiled by Monica Quesada

QUESTION: If the Soda Tax is approved by Richmond voters in November, do you think people will stop buying soda? And if passed, how do you think the tax would affect your business?

Sunny Lee, 53, owner of Tarabini’s Deli

“It’s going to make the drinks too expensive and people are not going to buy it, so I signed for ‘no.’ In my opinion, I will have to cover the tax.”

Ramon Franco, 33, owner of Salsa Taqueria

“People are going to keep buying as usual. If the law passes, I just up the price what I have to. This is like cigarettes — they up the price to death, but the one that smokes keeps on smoking. If somebody wants a coke, they will pay (for it).”

Ivan Tian, owner of Joy Cafe

“I think people will stop buying, because it turns too expensive. It won’t affect us a lot because we sell other drinks, like milkshakes and coffee.”

Joyce Wu, 30, employee at Joy Cafe

“I’m against people drinking too much soda. It will affect my business, but I am for it. I was a nurse before and I think health is more important. Otherwise, the government has to pay for the medical bills.”

Susana Ayala, 27, employee at Lee’s Donuts

“People are going to keep buying because they have that habit, even if the price goes up. They will complain for a little bit and then they will have to pay. Maybe the first few days it will affect the business, but once they see the price went up everywhere, they will get used to it and will start buying again.”

Kevin Lee, 30, employee at Lee’s Donuts

“We are against it, that is why we have a sign outside. It’s not good for the city, because [people] might go buy [sodas] outside of the city.”

Brenda Cornejo, 18, employee at Bart Mart

“I think people will keep on buying, although maybe the store will have a drop in sales, because there are people with low incomes.  But I think they will keep on buying, anyways.”

Madeline Alvarado, 18, employee at Bart Mart

“They will keep on buying, because these are drinks that they consume daily.  They will keep on seeing [soda] in the store, and they might not buy as often but they will keep on buying.”

Amar Nasser, 29, co-owner of Bart Mart

“I think they will stop buying sodas because they are more expensive, especially when they can go to San Pablo and buy it cheaper there. It will affect my business and a lot of businesses in Richmond. I think we have to stop it from happening. It’s gotten kind of expensive.  And we [business owners] are not [the ones] paying that tax — the customers are paying. [Bart Mart] sells mostly sodas and bottles and all that stuff, so it is going to affect me a lot.”

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