COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In an economic time when more people are losing jobs and companies are struggling, the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce is trying to promote area small businesses. They have centered an entire week around it.
Senior Vice-President of Small Business Ron Hinze told News Leader Nine, "We want some heads slapped, oh I didn't think about that. We want that to happen for our small businesses."
To get that head slapping response, the Chamber of Commerce is dedicating an entire week to bringing awareness to small businesses all over the valley.
Hinze said, "Most of our small business expansion is because of expansion by large employers. We think that's going to change in the future but we want people to understand past contributions small businesses have made."
The events are free to the public and Hinze says they are using successful small businesses as an example for aspiring business owners, "Ranger Joe's is an iconic business in Columbus starting in the 50's but it has undergone some major changes in their business model in the last 15 years."
"We've had a pick and shovel operation for 47 years and we've grown. Our first store was 20 feet wide and 80 feet long but Ranger Joe's is a good example of small business," Ranger Joe's owner Paul Voorhees added.
Ranger Joe's owner Paul Voorhees says their small start has now lead to multiple stores and an online business bigger than ever expected, "With Columbus and south Columbus being a gateway to Ft. Benning, I think it's a golden opportunity to build or open a business in Columbus."
The Chamber of Commerce is hosting events all week long.
Monday there is a Networking Reception at the Springer Opera House. Tuesday they are holding an Economic Development Bus Tour to small businesses around the area. Wednesday there is a Financial Lending Fair and Thursday the Chamber of Commerce is holding an Awards Banquet. The week's events wrap up on Friday with the FastTrac Growth ventures Graduation.
For more information or to sign up for the events you can contact Brooke Wright (706)324-1566 or visit the Chamber of Commerce's website.