from the Illinois Policy Institute
Sara Travis loves Chicago.
She’s lived here her whole life. When Sara decided to start her own business, there was no question that she would set up shop in her hometown.
Sara founded The Brew Hub, a mobile coffee-vending business that sells iced coffees and teas, in June 2013.
But she encountered endless obstacles to becoming a legitimate business.
For more than a year, Sara petitioned the city of Chicago to give her a permit so she could legally operate her already-popular business throughout the city’s neighborhoods.
But Chicago bureaucrats just took her in circles. Sara wanted to work with the city – she was persistent in reaching out to officials to figure out what she needed to do to accomplish her goal. But the city wasn’t willing to work with her.
Without a permit, Sara and her colleagues worked every day in fear of fines and harassment.
Eventually, Sara had to make a tough decision: continue operating illegally without hope of legitimately growing her business – or move.
In 2014, she and her business shipped off to Austin.
“In Austin, I was sitting in a little room filling out paperwork – we filled it all out, turned it in, gave them some money and we had a permit,” she said.
“We can always come home to Chicago, and that’s something we want to pursue, but Texas is ready for us.”