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In his Feb. 9 letter, ("Smoking surveys in story were biased"), Ted Funk asserts that the results of the independent business survey were biased.

The results of the independent business survey ("Owners: Smoking up to our patrons" page Al, Feb. 4) were derived from the following three restaurants with bars: Schooners, Times Past Inn and Ride the Nine. The survey was conducted at all three restaurants over a one-week period, and was unbiased in nature. The findings show that a majority of those surveyed were non-smokers who believe small businesses should be permitted to operate their businesses as they see fit. We believe the individuals surveyed represent a good cross-section of our customers and thus express the views that a majority of our customers would take. We take the opinions of our customers very seriously because our customers are the lifeblood of our business.

Individuals, including myself, in the hospitality business pay our share of state and local taxes, raise many dollars for charity and have employed numerous part- and full-time employees throughout the years.

We believe a total smoking ban would be detrimental to our business and would cause an economic impact on taxes, charitable donations and employment. Past studies have shown that the hospitality industry has suffered in states that have passed a total smoking ban.

When it comes down to it, it is an individual's choice whether to patronize a smoking or non-smoking establishment. We believe a similar option should be allowed to independent business persons to choose how to best operate their business.

Bob Groetken

Normal

The writer is owner of Schooners, Bloomington.

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