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Retirement Opens Door to New Business for Senior Entrepreneur

Hamilton, Ohio man uses career experience to launch new artistic venture

June 15, 2016
By Gary Gudmundson, Ohio Dept. of Taxation

The story most of us will tell is we worked and then retired to a life of anything but work. Rick Jones is not like most of us. He did the work thing; for 25 years was director at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in Hamilton, Ohio before retiring in May, 2015. That's when Rick took a path few of us will travel. Six months after checking out of the workforce, he punched back in as an entrepreneur opening up the largest retail store in downtown Hamilton.

Jones' business is literally a Mom & Pop operation. He and his wife, Chris, run the shop with help from their artist son, Brandt. The store is called Renaissance Fine Art Supplies. The 'Renaissance' name, he says, carries a double meaning: it recognizes a time in history during which the arts rose to perhaps their most magnificent heights, and also to celebrate the revival of Hamilton, a city of 63,000 that embraced the arts as a means to recharge economic energies.

Brandt, Rick and Chris Jones offer smiles, expertise and fine art supplies at their retail business in downtown Hamilton, OH.The arts and launching a new business are also helping Rick maintain vitality in his golden years. "My age was never a consideration. I retired at 67. Of course, I realize my energy (and body) isn't what it was at age 30, but I'm driven by a desire to make our community better."

According to national data compiled by the Kauffman Foundation, fewer than a half of one percent of the population will choose to start a business. Of that small group, more than 25 percent are ages 55 years or older.

Rick started planning the future he's living now a few years ago. He put together a business plan with help from the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), one of thirty centers around the state operated by the Ohio Development Services Agency. Mark Lankford was his business advisor and says Rick has been a quick study. "He has done everything correctly, done an impressive amount of due diligence to give his business the best chance for success. He's proving that you can be a risk taker, even after retirement."

Lankford says retirees who start businesses have to be especially careful about protecting their financial nest egg. Business taxes, he says, are always a concern. Fortunately, for those older, and all entrepreneurs, Ohio has taken an important step to lessen that concern. For businesses like Rick's, structured as a pass-through entity, meaning business income passes through to the owner/investor, Ohio's newly formed business income deduction preserves vital capital for a fledgling business.

Ohio Tax Commissioner Joe Testa says the business income deduction makes the first $250,000 in business income free from state income tax, allowing the business owner additional monies to shore up finances of the operation. "Business owners are the first to tell you that every dollar matters. This deduction gives them extra capital for advertising or equipment, or generally to reinvest in and hopefully grow their business and jobs in Ohio."

Jones says if all goes as planned, his business will start making a profit in 12-18 months or so. He says the business income deduction is "huge", and is something of a vision come true, "I used to think that Ohio should not tax new businesses as a way of helping them succeed. This (deduction) is wonderful."

Jones says he's confident his plan and business will bear fruit. His store is the only quality art supply provider outside of Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton or Indianapolis. It's located in a newly renovated, $12 million historic building project. The Artspace Hamilton Lofts is the only one of its kind in Ohio, offering "live/work" space for 42 artists. The place is filled. He says Hamilton is making arts work because it invited the people of the city to participate and they bought in.

Rick says he and his wife wanted to help provide for the continued growth of the arts in town. It's an investment that just may end up providing for Rick and his family and their futures.


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Aging. It's Everybody's Business.

The Ohio Department of Aging is celebrating Older Americans Month with the theme: "Aging. It's Everybody's Business." All month long, we are turning our blog over to our many and various partners, from our sister state agencies to organizations and individuals working every day in our communities to build a stronger Ohio for all generations.

This article is presented for informational purposes and its posting here does not constitute an endorsement by the Department of Aging of the author, his or her organization or the opinions expressed.


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