Small Businesses Go Bust

JENS ROTZSCH/OSTKREUZ for TIME

BRUSH WITH FAILURE: Sven Romeike says taxes and bad law killed his business

Leafing through a brown leather scrapbook, Sven Romeike traces the history of his family-owned business back three generations. There's a photo of his grandfather in billowing white overalls when the painting company was founded in 1932. There are his father and uncle when they took over the business in the prosperous 1970s. But what's missing are pictures and pleasant memories from the last couple of years during Sven's management, when the business collapsed and forced him to file for liquidation. "It's been very painful, very sad. It was terrible to have to dismiss my workers," Romeike says. "My career has been...

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