Wall Street hits Main Street: Local business owners skeptical

Washington is telling them it isn't a $700-billion Wall Street bailout, it's a Main Street rescue -- but the merchants who line our local Main Streets are unsure whether politicians can truly help them.

213 E. Main St., Belleville: John Vallero, president of Curt Smith Sporting Goods, said he supports the government efforts to rescue Wall Street. His store uses a credit line for payroll, expenses and inventory purchases.

"I think the bailout is necessary and important," he said. "The government has got to get credit moving again."

But other business owners decried using taxpayers' money to rescue investors who accepted risky mortgage-backed securities. For instance:

130 N. Main St. Rear, Edwardsville: Lisa Mainer and Christine Schutze, co-owners of retail clothier and vintage store Trash, both were against the Wall Street bailout. They opened their store eight weeks ago and don't use credit for salaries or inventory purchases.

"That money could be used to bail out regular people who are really hurting, not corporations who made really poor judgment calls," Schutze said. "Some of those corporations need to tumble a little bit because regular people aren't getting corporate CEOs' salaries and benefits, and they are struggling to pay for things like groceries and gas."

Many business owners said they resent bailing out Wall Street.

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