Economic Milestone

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It seems small business development rather than large industry recruitment is the way to go, especially here in Galax and the Twin Counties, after the Small Business Development Center recently announced that it helped gain funding for 100 businesses in the past three years, with 96 of those still operating.

Though a large manufacturing company willing to put hundreds back to work would be nice, when the economy turns bad, it seems large industries leave the threat of hundreds being stranded without jobs all at once.

However, many small businesses in the area have been able to not only maintain workers, but also expand and hire additional employees. In fact, the small businesses weathering the storm in the region employ a total of 436 people — as many or more than a large manufacturing plant.

Some small businesses have had to cut back and develop marketing strategies just to survive, but they are persevering and seem to be here to stay.

And the small business economy is actually growing.

Dallas Garrett, director of the SBDC at the Crossroads Institute, estimates that 200 additional small businesses will open in the next two years, which will employ at least 500.

It's a slow climb to get Galax, Grayson and Carroll back to where they used to be in terms of employment, so now more than ever it's important to buy locally to ensure the security of small businesses, which generate dollars back into the community and, of course, provide work.