Business owners cheer planned HB2 repeal
Posted December 20, 2016
Raleigh, N.C. — Since House Bill 2 passed, several companies have scrapped plans to expand in North Carolina, and the state economy also has taken a hit from canceled conventions, concerts and athletic events.
Some businesses said the law, which most notably required transgender people to use bathrooms in schools and other government buildings that correspond to the gender listed on their birth certificates, also made them less competitive when trying to hire talented workers.
Now, area business owners are cheering the potential repeal of the controversial law dealing with LGBT rights by state lawmakers on Wednesday.
"I hope that we go forward in a progressive way as a state that shows that we are for everyone and that we don't go backwards. That's what I hope," said Sam Ratto, owner of Videri Chocolate in downtown Raleigh.
Ratto said he lost customers because of House Bill 2.
"We're not doing business with you from North Carolina because we think you're this kind of a state and you're these kind of people," former customers told him.
He predicts a sweeter future for his company without House Bill 2.
"If you send a clear message that you're willing to participate in democracy and you're willing to say that everyone who wants to do business here can and you're not going to segregate or say this isn't allowed one way or the other, I think we could be in a good spot," he said.
Justin Miller, chief executive of Deja Mi, said his company's WedPics app for sharing wedding photos, also suffered in the wake of House Bill 2.
"They read that we were a Raleigh, North Carolina, company and elected not to use our product any longer because of the fact that we were here in this state that supported that initiative," Miller said, adding that he also lost some potential investors because of the law.
"They said they were refraining from making any North Carolina investments during the time this bill was in action," he said.
Even with a repeal imminent, however, Miller and other business owners said it will take a while for the state to recoup its lost revenue and its reputation nationally.
"There is work we're going to have to do as a community and as a state to repair some of those damages that incurred from the passing of the bill," he said.