City of Topeka works to improve small businesses

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – City leaders are working to make it easier for small businesses to open in Topeka after complaints of the process taking too long.

The owner of Dialogue Coffee House decided to leave college to start her own business here in her hometown of Topeka. She invested all of her savings to open this store and just when she was ready to get going the city didn’t make it easy.

Caitlyn Halsey opened the Dialogue Coffee house in April but the process wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

The 20-year-old had to wait more than a month after purchasing the property before she could even start construction.

“I took a huge risk of leaving school with very little income. We got started right away but it took a really long time to get our doors open to the public,” said Halsey.

Halsey had to wait for the city to approve permits, which she said was nerve-racking.

Cody Foster is a successful businessman in Topeka, who helps entrepreneurs get going.

“I think understanding every week a small business isn’t open is so costly to them and I think we need to do a better job of that,” said Foster

Topeka’s city manager is working to speed up the process, which can take up to 42 days to complete.”We want them to be in business. it’s good for us as a community and I’m trying to encourage that as well,” said Brent Trout.

He said with stronger communication earlier in the permit process, they can work out problems much faster. Too often business owners wait too long to get things going.

The owner of the coffee shop agrees it would’ve been easier to start up if the city had been easier to get ahold of.

She is glad to see the city take steps to make the process of opening up shop in Topeka a little sweeter and attract more businesses to the capital city.

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