Small Business Week

Clockwise from left: John Perkins pours a glass of beer at Red Clay Brewing Company in Opelika; customers shop in downtown Auburn; Reasia Jones celebrates her eighth birthday by playing at CyberZone in Opelika in 2018; Anabell the dog steps into Stamp in Auburn.

The U.S. Small Business Administration is asking consumers to keep their dollars local in observance of National Small Business Week, May 5-11.

“For more than 50 years, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners,” the SBA’s website reads.

“More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.”

The week will start with awards ceremonies in the nation’s capital today and Monday, recognizing notable small businesses from throughout the United States.

Locally, owners and managers of small businesses invest in the community, which in turn invests in them.

Investing in community

“Lee County means home,” Simon and Elaine Bak, who operate CyberZone Entertainment Center, wrote in an email to the Opelika-Auburn News. “Lee County is where we live, work, and teach, where we own property and operate our business, where our son attends school, and where we hire students – many of whom have never had a job before us – and help them grow and develop.

“Lee County is our home, and it is where we invest our time, energy, and efforts, while constantly reinvesting in our community.”

Shelby Cohan, general manager and buyer for Charming Oaks boutique in Auburn, said small businesses are “the lifeblood of cities.”

“We support so much that goes on in Auburn and all of Lee County, from schools to fundraisers to the university,” she said. “Without the local support of these businesses, none of that would be possible.

“With the increase in chain and internet businesses, it is even more important that residents support, shop and eat in those businesses owned and run by their neighbors.”

Investing in business

Kerry McGinnis, co-owner of Red Clay Brewing Company in Opelika, said he believes small businesses almost always have better products than their larger competitors. And, he said, shopping small is beneficial for everyone involved.

“When you support a small business, you’re not helping someone with their 13th penthouse or second yacht,” he said. You’re helping the guy next door get school supplies for his kids…you’re putting that money back in your own pocket, in a way.

“You’re investing in your community when you shop small.”

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