OTR Interviews

'Back to Business' Series, Part 2: Meet Me in St. Louis

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 31, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Griff Jenkins is out talking to small business owners across the country as part of our new series. Here he is in St. Louis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Greta, we've hit the ground running in St. Louis, Missouri where Vice President Biden recently addressed the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee. He talked about jobs. He talked about the economy, which is why we continue to let our viewers hear directly from small business owners here in the St. Louis area.

And now you'll hear from someone who sells hot tubs for a living, a restaurant owner, and hair salon stylist.

Karen Port is the co-owner with her husband of Mirage Recreation. You sell hot tubs, Karen. How is business? How are you doing?

KAREN PORT, MIRAGE SPA AND RECREATION: We are surviving the economy. We are not doing the numbers that we need. But we're currently still in business. But we definitely could use a boost.

We need taxes cut, because we need people to come in. First of all, if I were running the United States like our small business, you have to run it tight. You have to run it by watching all of your expenses. You have to watch everything.

If our government would do that we wouldn't have to be paying as many taxes and we could have the people actually get a lower tax rate so they could come in and purchase goods, because that's the only way we are going to get our economy off to a start.

JENKINS: Jim Fiala, the owner of four restaurants in the St. Louis area. This one you've had for 12 years. Jim, how are you doing in this economy?

JIM FIALA, THE CROSSING: Well, the economy has definitely changed. Even before the economy changed, I did some things because I kind of had a sense things were going in that direction. So I started offering lower price gourmet meals. So people can come here, and instead of just ordering a piece of chicken or a rack of lamb or something like that and leaving, I offer a four course tasting menu.

And like in New York or San Francisco, you might have tasting menus where people come in and eat multiple courses and it might be over $100 a head. In St. Louis I started that opening up that type of dining to customers here for $25.

JENKINS: Some small business owners I've talked to have had trouble getting access to credit and some have even had to cut jobs. Have you had any problems with either of those?

FIALA: I would say I lined up credit before the bank problems and all that. I have talked a little bit to the banks, and all my bankers have said the money is not as easy as it was. So I've continued on the -- I run with a line of credit so that if I can access it for a little while and pay it back, access and pay it back. So that's how I operate here.

JENKINS: So you are a great success story because you really made yourself flexible and were able to absorb the downturn in the economy. How long do you think it goes?

FIALA: I think it all goes -- and I think that we have to be as small businessmen, everybody has to look at their own niche and see what works for them. If I didn't change, you know, maybe the other -- maybe the other restaurants would still be around, but maybe the higher end restaurant would be adapting in a different way.

JENKINS: Krista Dudash runs Salon Elle here in the St. Louis area. Krista, how are you doing?

KRISTA DUDASH, SALON ELLE: We're doing really well in this economy. I've had this business for six years. And in my business everybody wants to look good. And if everything else is going bad in the economy, and they are feeling bad they don't have money, they can't go anywhere, they can't do anything, they don't want to make any big purchases, they definitely want to look good.

So I have noticed they will still come in, get their hair done. And that way they feel good. They may save a little money as far as going out and not going out to dinners as much. They will eat at home or digging into their savings, but they are still getting their hair done.

I'm just ready for whatever they can do to get these people back working. That is the only thing that is going to help my business is to get more people working. More people feeling comfortable about spending and that in turn is going to help me as far as stylists coming here to work and to buy a product or spending a little more as far as adding an extra service to what they normally get.

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VAN SUSTEREN: Next up for Griff -- Toledo, Ohio.