It’s Up to Us to Nourish Small Businesses

In this photo taken Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, Jack Shutts, front right, works the counter as throngs of people wait to make their purchases at Chagrin Hardware in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The crowds came to support the family-owned business after an email from resident Jim Black looking for people to come Saturday and spend at least $20.00 at the store went viral. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

This story about the “cash mob” that took place in Chagrin Falls, Ohio really hit home with me. Small family businesses, like the Chagrin Hardware store, are what America is all about.  Here’s what happened in Chagrin Falls–A resident sent out an email to 40 friends asking them to spend at least $20 on January 21st in the local hardware store that has been in business since 1857. The email was sent and resent, resulting in a wonderful outpouring of support and purchases from the community. People from out of town were even phoning in orders. I have a local hardware store here in St. Clair Shores that I have frequented for many, many years. It’s called Gilberts Pro Hardware. Blair Gilbert now owns and runs the company, he is a 3rd generation hardwareman. Blair has worked very hard to grow the business and according to his website he tripled the size of the business in 1999. Today he continues to offer customers the “small business” feeling, providing how-to information and help and advice on projects, not just when you see him in the store, but also online. His website is called and it features videos and how-to articles on all sorts of home improvement or home repair projects. I’m a do-it-yourselfer but I don’t always have all the answers. Just recently he helped me find a lightbulb adapter to make a modern lightbulb fit into a much older lighting fixture. Who knew something like that existed! Anyway, President Obama didn’t really address how important small business is to the future economic success of America in his State of the Union address but we all know that small business is the engine that runs America. Since he didn’t mention it, let me restate the facts:

How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy? Small firms:

• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

• Employ about half of all private sector employees.

• Pay 43 percent of total U.S. private payroll.

• Have generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.

• Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.

• Hire 43 percent of high tech workers (scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).

• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.

• Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.

• Produce 16.5 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.

Thank you small businesses out there! Here’s hoping that political change in 2012 will make it easier than ever for you to do business.

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  1. adele says:

    I did hear Pres Obama mention small business more than once. And he mentioned tax breaks for them.

  2. Ted says:

    Adele, thanks for reading and for your comment. Specifically, for small business, President Obama requested that Congress pass new legislation that would extend for a full year the payroll-tax holiday that gives consumers a tax break of $40 per paycheck on average. He also asked Congress for a reduction of regulations that prevent would-be entrepreneurs from landing financing, as well as tax relief for businesses that raise wages and create jobs. These things are necessary. Let’s hope Congress puts the legislation on his desk and he signs it. Regulations and government interference are strangling many small businesses, including those in the garment decorating industry. He did speak minimally about small businesses, but not nearly as much as he should have. He tried to cover too many topics and as a result didn’t really cover anything.

  3. Joseph says:

    I don’t think President Obama could have said anything that you would have pleased you.I enjoy you blog,but wish that you stick with things that you could be open minded about.

  4. Ted says:

    Thank you for your comment Joseph and thanks for reading. More about heat printing coming soon. Let me know if there are any topics you would like to hear more about.

  5. I heard Mr. Obama mention almost exactly the same statements the other night as he used last year and the year before. I feel big talk is cheap. Getting it done, as business men like Ted and myself know, takes hard work and setting an example. Cutting our pay and expenses to keep the business rolling, not adding committee after committee, like the new one to ‘disperse’ more Veterans funds. AT WHAT COST? YOU WILL ONLY CRY at how much government cronies will milk off the Vets for their own benefit.
    I am very blessed to have the community and support from my customers that I do. It is a pleasure to take someone w/a broken project and teach them how to repair it.
    My father’s teaching was, “Do and good job, take care of people and the money will follow.”
    Blair Gilbert

  6. Ted says:

    Blair, thanks for your comments and thanks for reading. You are right about Obama repeating many of the same statements. Have you seen this YouTube video that documents similar statements from past speeches?

  7. Nourish small business – I am a third generation small business owner – and it is getting harder and harder to operate. While you may think President Obama is giving us breaks, somehow the flip side of new expense is being overlooked. The hard cost of running a business continues to escalate – I happen to be in transportation, and happen to be in Tucson, Arizona. You may have recently seen the riff between our Governor Jan Brewer and President Obama during his recent visit. I live 50 miles from the Mexican border and we have real security issues. Ranchers have been killed, senior citizens found dead in the homes they came to retire in, and our cattle gets slaughtered daily – the president doesn’t seem to believe it – so he put US Marshalls and more security in our airport – and I get to pay for it – I must pay for a homeland security permit just to work out of our locat airport every time I send a car there – and I am not the terrorist they are looking for – I work 7 days a week and the rewards are not there as they have been in the past – thanks for letting me vent about ONE item passed on to the little guy – there are many more and its killing the American Dream –

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