Small businesses still struggle in tough economy

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - This week is National Small Business Week. When the economy took a hit, so did small businesses.

The Goodremonts opened their shop in 1947.

"We sell copiers. It's much more than copiers. It's office technology and it's been evolving," said Mark Goodremont, owner of Goodremont's Inc.

There are 27 employees at their Sylvania Avenue store in west Toledo. While Goodremont said there has been a need for his business, it has definitely taken a hit.

"A lot of our clients have gone by the wayside because of the economy and unfortunately, I don't think it's all back yet," said Goodremont.

Small businesses in general have failed, which is not what banks want to see happen.

"Small businesses are absolutely critical to our economy. Small businesses are job creators first and foremost, and that is a significant piece, especially in these economic times, explained Jeremy Gutierrez.

Gutierrez is a business banking manager with Huntington Bank. Recently, Huntington Bank was ranked as the third largest lender of small business administration loans.

According to Gutierrez, the economy is starting to make great strides, especially in manufacturing. That has banks, such as Huntington, loaning to more people who want to open their own businesses.

"Each dollar, each loan we make to a small business owner, again, helps revitalize and rebuild our regional economy. That leads to job growth, which is significant," said Gutierrez.

Still, Goodremont said it takes more than money to keep the doors open. His formula for success is to "work real hard. Work really really hard."

Anyone interested in learning more about starting a small business or expanding it, can attend "Charting Your Course" workshops periodically held by the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. The next workshop is June 21 from 9 a.m. until noon. To reserve a spot, call 419-243-8191. It will cost $10 to attend.

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