12/24/17 — Value in small businesses

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Value in small businesses

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 24, 2017 3:05 AM


Plaques with the names of previous Wayne County Small Business of the Year recipients lay on the desk of Dale Fey, the new director of the Small Business Center.

Dale Fey, the new director of the Small Business Center, said he was surprised and then impressed by the large number of small businesses in the area.

And that is just another reason why recognizing the county's small businesses and start-ups is so important as the Small Business Center at Wayne Community College, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Mount Olive Area Chamber of Commerce and the Foundation of Wayne Community College are seeking nominations for "Small Business of the Year" and Startup of the Year awards.

"It is not easy to run a business," Fey said. "It is not easy to start a business. Most of the people who start, fail. So hats off to anybody who tries it and succeeds and I see a lot of that here. Like I said I have been here three months and I have 323 clients already. That's a lot for that short of a period of time, and they all want to start a business. I think many of them have a really good chance of doing it.

"But, yeah, I think it is important to recognize people who are trying really hard to earn a living and provide some type of service to the community. I think that is the way that people have to look at it. If we all went to Raleigh for what we wanted, this wouldn't be a town. It would just be a bedroom community. Small towns are important, too."

Fey said one of the things that he thinks the public has seen over the year was the move from downtown to the suburbs.

Now it seems that the focus has shifted back to rebuilding downtowns and small businesses, he said.

"I think that is what is happening across the country," he said. Goldsboro is doing a really good job downtown."

Fey said he was first surprised and then impressed by the number of small businesses that seem to exist in the area based on the population.

"There are lot of little small places that people seem to still use, which I think is really kind of cool," he said. "I am from Greensboro, and we don't have near the number of small businesses that are here, based on our population.

"There just seem to be a lot of small, independent places, and I think that is kind of neat. People are frequenting those kinds of places. There are a lot of independently-owned restaurants, which is, again, unusual."

Fey said what he finds so fascinating about the area is how strong the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce is.

"It is unusually strong for a small community," he said.

Also unusua lto see are organizations like the Chamber and the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. working so well together, he said.

Nominees for the 2017 awards must be based or operated in Wayne County and meet the U.S. Small Business Administration criteria for classification as small business.

All legal small businesses are eligible, including those in agriculture, manufacturing, service sector, retail, and all forms of industry.

Past winners are ineligible for the three award cycles immediately following their award.

The Small Business of the Year award will be given to the small business that has most demonstrated excellence in business practices, customer service, and community involvement.

Other criteria include being a respected corporate citizen, exhibiting growth potential, and offering value to the community through either job creation or general positive image.

The first Small Business of the Year Award was presented in 1996.

To qualify for "Startup of the Year," nominees must have opened their doors for the first time in either 2016 or 2017. The award was first presented in 2013.

The winner in this category will have "exhibited exceptional thoughtfulness and organization throughout the process of creating its business plan and seeing that plan through to fruition."

Anyone can nominate a business or nominate themselves.

Other criteria can be found on the nomination forms, available through the Chamber website, www.waynecountychamber.com.

Packets must be submitted to the Small Business Center by Jan. 5, 2018.

Results will be announced and awards presented at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet on Jan. 25, at the Goldsboro Event Center.

Tickets for the event will available from the Chamber.

For more information, contact Linda Berard at 919-739-6940 or lrberard@ waynecc.edu.