The Business of Small Business

KRISTEN AUCTER

President Calvin Coolidge stated that “the business of America is business” and although the statement was made in the 1920’s it still rings true today. The encouragement of entrepreneurship across the country idealizes our willingness to take risks and reach for the stars. The successful businesses that run through our small towns and communities provide the nourishment to keep that enthusiasm and those dreams alive.

    Small businesses create a strong middle class, give back exponentially to the community and have been, throughout the nation’s history, the primary source of job creation in the country. It is our job as consumers to continuously provide support to perpetuate the cycle of success to the business owner and the communities we live in.

    According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.7% of US employer firms. Since the last recession they have accounted for 67% of the new jobs created! Those statistics alone should make people want to identify how to continue our small business revolution. Here are some ideas on how you, as a consumer or business, can do just that:

  1. Shop there! This one shouldn’t need much of an explanation. Visit their businesses. Use their services. Make it a habit to check what they have available before going to larger box stores.
  2. Participate in “Small Business Saturday”. Since 2010 American Express has been encouraging consumers to skip Black Friday shopping and support their local small businesses. The campaign was launched in an effort to aid small businesses in gaining exposure and to change the way consumers shop in their own community. Many Chambers of Commerce, including Lewis County’s, open their doors on that day as a welcome station. Providing lists of business open for the day, reusable shopping bags and goodies for kids or pets who may be tagging along!
  3. Encourage your friends and family to shop local. Everyone hates the dreaded question “what do you want for your birthday/Christmas/graduation etc”. Let them know you love what the local shops have to offer. It not only gets you what you want but introduces a new customer to those businesses.
  4. Look into community gift certificates. Many local Chambers offer gift certificates that can be used at multiple participating businesses in the area. Lewis County will have Chamber Ca$h available as of June 1st. It is a dollar for dollar match that will allow the recipient to purchase goods and services locally!
  5. Organize a community event. Small Business Saturday doesn’t have to be the only day of the year to step foot in the doors of these businesses. Be creative and host an event that encourages people to become aware of what hidden treasures your community has.
  6. If you enjoy your experience provide a good review. Yelp, Google and Foursquare are all review sites that other people use when making decisions where to shop. It is the new “word of mouth”. It will increase their visibility in search results and continues to foster that sense of trust in small businesses.
  7. Network. Network. Network. Business After Hours are a great way to know what is new in the community. Most small businesses start out of someone’s home. While these businesses might not have a store front to visit this doesn’t mean they aren’t exactly what you are looking for and you can help them grow. As a Chamber we encourage these new, up and coming businesses to come to Chamber events to let people know what they have to offer.
  8. Collaboration. Do you own a small business? Do you have skills or insight that might be a benefit to someone just starting out? Reach out to your Chamber to host a speaking event in a local speaker series at a free or discounted price.

   Beyond creating jobs, investing in locally owned small businesses keeps money in your community to support other important initiatives through the local sales tax earned. Education, law enforcement and emergency services, parks, and other publically funded programs all benefit immensely.

And, of course, shopping at local small businesses creates a unique experience you can’t have online. Small businesses tend to provide a more personal customer experience and offer special things you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Kristen Aucter is the president and CEO of the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce. Contact her by emailing kristen@lewiscountychamber.org.

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Carolyn Yerdon, holds sign of snow accumulation in Lewis County. 

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February 20 Questions: Eric Virkler

 

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Lowville Academy’s $11m capital project nearing completion, auditorium opening soon

STEVE VIRKLER / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS Contractors work in the Lowville Academy and Central School auditorium. It is scheduled to reopen after the Christmas break.

STEVE VIRKLER / JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS
Contractors work in the Lowville Academy and Central School auditorium. It is scheduled to reopen after the Christmas break.

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Schools, businesses celebrate manufacturing

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS PHOTO BY STEVE VIRKLER A contingent from Lowville Academy visited QubicaAMF Oct. 13 for Manufacturing Day. They were, from left to right, school counselor Gilbert Monnat, Kris Stokes, Isaiah Roes, George Cornell, Sarah Haggett, Dillon Christman, Gabe Rivers, Damien Barley, technology teacher Ken Kozin and Alex Caterham.

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS PHOTO BY STEVE VIRKLER
A contingent from Lowville Academy visited QubicaAMF Oct. 13 for Manufacturing Day. They were, from left to right, school counselor Gilbert Monnat, Kris Stokes, Isaiah Roes, George Cornell, Sarah Haggett, Dillon Christman, Gabe Rivers, Damien Barley, technology teacher Ken Kozin and Alex Caterham.

By MARCUS WOLF AND STEVE VIRKLER
JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS

Manufacturing day across the north country sent students from many schools into the factories and warehouses of area companies.

Students from South Jefferson High School toured the production floor at Jain Irrigation Inc. and watched presentations about the company’s operations, departments and career opportunities Oct. 13 for the fifth annual North Country Manufacturing Day.

In Lowville, students from three different school districts toured the QubicaAMF plant, starting with a group from Lowville Academy and Central School.

The students learned that the plant is the largest bowling pin manufacturing plant in the world, producing about 7,000 pins per day, and that three feet of lumber are required for each one.

They got to see the section of the mill where wooden bowling lanes are produced, then saw the kilns where the wood is dried and followed the pin manufacturing process from planning wood pieces, to gluing them together, shaping them, covering them with plastic molds and applying chemical finishes and designs.

Gilbert J. Monnat II, a guidance counselor at Lowville who also took the tour, said Manufacturing Day is valuable to show students that there are options besides the college track, including higher-paying technical jobs like welding, but that training is still essential and “education doesn’t end at high school.”

“I think it’s very important to expose our kids to it,” Mr. Monnat said.

The eight Lowville students were all member of Kenneth Kozin’s robotics class.

JAIN SELF CONTAINED

Four managers from Jain delivered presentations about how the company manufactures its Chapin Drip Tape, a water conservation tape for drip irrigation systems that allows water to travel directly into the crops’ roots.

Students learned and discussed the practices and roles within the company’s manufacturing process, including maintenance, quality control and safety departments. Students from the Sackets Harbor Central School District also were given a tour and presentations after South Jefferson.

Heidi L. Edtar, a school counselor for South Jefferson High School, said that she brought nine high school students grades 11 to 12 with her to the facility. South Jefferson was one of 17 schools throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties to tour any of the 14 participating manufacturing facilities.

“It was all interesting,” said Christopher A. Stevens, 17. “I might try to get into it.”

North Country Manufacturing day is an annual event in which manufacturing companies volunteer to showcase their operations and discuss the industry with students. F. Marshall Weir III, marketing director for the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency, said that JCIDA, CITEC Business Solutions, the Jefferson County Department of Employment & Training at the WorkPlace, Lewis County Economic Development, the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services and other organizations worked together to coordinate tours with all of the manufacturing companies and contact school districts to garner interest.

“It’s a great idea for getting people to know about the jobs that are available here,” said Michael R. Shantz, human resources and safety manager for Jain Irrigation.

Project Team Supervisor Michael C. Crump guided the students throughout the production floor and discussed each step of production.

Students watched the machinery operate as Mr. Crump described how each machine worked, including how the notch wheels make slits in the irrigation tape, how the winders wrap the tape around the spools, how the flow testers ensure that water flows through the tape and how the wooden spools are built.

“I like the whole process, 17, “going down and seeing how everything works,” Kyle C. Duvall said.

Mr. Crumb also showed students the packaging process and the company’s maintenance shop where machinery parts are built and faulty equipment is repaired.

Maintenance Manager Tracy J. Vincent said that the company builds all of the machines used for production.

“It’s different here because most factories have stuff imported,” Mr. Stevens said. “Here, they do it all at once.”

The South Jefferson High School students also learned about Jain Irrigation’s product output and national market.

Mr. Shantz said that the facility’s 96 employees work together to produce 30 million feet of basic and deluxe turbulent flow irrigation tape each week for corn, onion, strawberry and broccoli farmers throughout the country.

“We don’t have job openings here,” General Manger Carson D. Lennox said. “We have career openings.”

August 2016 Feature Story: North Country Family Health Center

Back from the brink

Joey Marie Horton is the executive director of North Country Family Health Center, Watertown. The center has clawed its way back from near closure three years ago.  Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

Joey Marie Horton is the executive director of North Country Family Health Center, Watertown. The center has clawed its way back from near closure three years ago. Photo by Justin Sorensen, NNY Business.

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August 2016 Cover Story: Telemedicine

Technology connects patients with care

The telemedicine machine utilizes a camera, top, that can be controlled remotely by a distance doctor, to analyze a patient and run tests for stroke diagnostics. The display of the doctor would be on the main computer screen, and the patient and location nurse can be seen in an inset screen, seen at bottom right. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

The telemedicine machine utilizes a camera, top, that can be controlled remotely by a distance doctor, to analyze a patient and run tests for stroke diagnostics. The display of the doctor would be on the main computer screen, and the patient and location nurse can be seen in an inset screen, seen at bottom right. Photo by Amanda Morrison, NNY Business.

Telemedicine another tool working to improve
access to specialists for rural residents

By Norah Machia, NNY Business

A patient recently came into Samaritan Medical Center’s Emergency Department presenting with symptoms of a possible stroke. Although a CT scan was done to rule out other causes, the physician treating the patient was still not completely convinced that stroke was the correct diagnosis. [Read more…]

Orleans, Lowville, other communities to receive funds needed for water projects

Road salt contamination has caused extensive corrosion at Andy Greene’s home in Fishers Landing, as seen here in his basement where he sits behind a corroded pipe on a hot water heater ruined by salt, holding a kitchen faucet he replaces every few years. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Road salt contamination has caused extensive corrosion at Andy Greene’s home in Fishers Landing, as seen here in his basement where he sits behind a corroded pipe on a hot water heater ruined by salt, holding a kitchen faucet he replaces every few years. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

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Lewis County recycling center upgrade bids come in around $300,000

Bids for an upgrade project at the Lewis County recycling center intended to improve its no-sort system came in around the $300,000 mark, as anticipated. [Read more…]

July 2016 Feature Story: Craft Beverage

Tapping into agri-tourism

From left, Kaneb Orchards owners Edward Kaneb Jr.  and Elizabeth  Kaneb  with Kaneb Orchards marketing/sales manager Nancy Badlam at their Massena cider operation. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

From left, Kaneb Orchards owners Edward Kaneb Jr.and Elizabeth
Kaneb with Kaneb Orchards marketing/sales manager Nancy Badlam at their Massena cider operation. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Region’s craft beverage industry diversifies as it grows

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

Twenty-one years after the north country’s first craft brewery, Sackets Harbor Brewing Company, opened in 1995, the craft beverage industry in the region has hit its stride as a major contributor to agri-tourism. [Read more…]