Small Business Driving Arkansas Economy

OCTOBER 12, 2006 -- POSTED AT 9:30 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- A recent study shows over 97 percent of Arkansas's employment comes from small businesses, a factor that continues to drive the state economy.

"We're not surprised at the statistics that came out today. I think that small business has always been an important part of a community's economy," says Cari White with the Jonesboro Chamber of Commerce.

Over 90 percent of the chamber's members come from small businesses, but that's not the only good thing they bring.

"Small businesses hire a lot of help especially in a college town which is good and most small businesses are locally owned by people who have lived in the area for a long time," says White.

Not only are small businesses an important part of the economy, but they're a vital part of each community as well.

"Just all of the services that are provided, all of the volunteer work that the owners of those companies do," says White.

Hoppy and Sheila Hoffman own the Design Shoppe in Jonesboro, a business they opened 10 years ago.  They said owning a small business definitely has its perks, but it comes with lots of hard work as well.

"It's not like some of the main chain stores where they're going to get the business because they are who they are. You have to go out and make your business, meet the people, and sell your business and sell your product and get your client base established and then it's self supportive," says Hoppy Hoffman.

Hard work that he says continues to pay off.

"We're pursuing other avenues as we speak trying to keep growing the business and I think that's part of a successful business is to always keep changing," says Hoffman.

The statistics for this report were issued by the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.