Honoring business owners

Small business the ‘backbone of the community’
Feb. 28, 2014 @ 08:49 PM

OXFORD — Government officials and community leaders gathered at the Granville County Expo and Convention Center on Thursday to express their appreciation to small businesses and industries for their contributions to the community.

Granville County Board of Commissioners Chairman David Smith read a resolution designating the occasion as Small Business and Industry Appreciation Day in Granville County “to pay tribute to businesses and industries in Granville County and to celebrate the achievements of business and industry owners and representatives that enhance the quality of life in our community.”

The gathering gave business owners an opportunity to network with each other, with government officials and with representatives of county agencies and non-profit organizations.

Members of municipal boards were present, as were county commissioners.

“These are exciting times,” Smith said.

Small businesses and industries are job creators, he said, pointing out that the unemployment rate in the county is now 6.8 percent, whereas it was more than 9 percent a year ago.

“A small business may be one man,” Smith said. Whatever the size, “they are the backbone of the community.”

He also recognized large companies such as Revlon, the Food Lion distribution center and Bandag, saying that they make substantial contributions to the community.

Bill Edwards, director of economic development for the county, said that of the 61,000 employees in the six-county region served by the Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board, more than 20,000 work in Granville County.

Granville County Schools Superintendent Tim Farley described options the schools are offering students. As an example, he mentioned the district’s career center, which will give students opportunities to develop business skills.

“Students have to have a choice to go where they can be the most productive,” he said. “We’re going to reach out to businesses for more internships. We will be contacting you for your help.”

Business and industry play a vital role in the economic life of the community, said Cecilia Wheeler, president of the Granville County Chamber of Commerce.

“Together we can continue to grow Granville County and make it a place we’re proud to call home,” she said.

The county is moving forward, Smith said.

“We’re ready for the growth,” he said.

The event was sponsored by Granville County, the Vance-Granville Community College Small Business Center and the Granville County Chamber of Commerce.

Contact the writer at dirvine@hendersondispatch.com.