| Celebrating Small Businesses
By Senator Mark Leno Sep 25, 2009
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. In just the last decade, small businesses have created 60% to 80% of the nation’s new jobs each year and employ nearly half of our workers. There is no doubt that we have had a difficult economic downturn over these last few years. While much of the media focuses on the ups and downs of the largest Fortune 500 firms, the reality is that our economic fortunes or misfortunes are directly tied to the fate of our independent small businesses.
We have seen a national recession hurt all sectors of our economy, in every state and in every neighborhood. In 2006, small businesses in California represented 99% of all the employers in the state and 52% of the state’s private-sector employment. Statistics from the Small Business Administration indicate that almost 88% of California’s new jobs come from small businesses.
As your representative in the California Senate, one of my roles is to help foster a strong economy for our local region and the state. This year I am highlighting many of the successful and innovative activities and programs of our small businesses.
With my 7th Annual Small Business of the Year Awards, I would like to share with you a little bit about the six recipients of the 3rd Senate District’s Small Business of the Year awards and how the owners and staff are helping to keep their neighborhoods active and our Bay Area economy rolling.
* Cotati’s Liberty Valley Doors in Sonoma County has been in business for nearly 30 years. A manufacturer of custom doors, Liberty Valley is a model of energy conservation. They placed solar panels on the entire business and are committed to reducing waste through recycling and sustainability programs.
* Fairfax Lumber & Hardware is the oldest business in Marin County’s Ross Valley, celebrating 92 years. The company is 100% employee-owned, and has launched an innovative and successful building initiative that offers consumers the choice of purchasing sustainable lumber, building supplies and nursery materials.
* Petaluma’s Pelican Art Gallery, co-owned by Linda Postenrieder and Donna Hinshaw, has promoted and supported community and public school art programs in Sonoma County. They offer art and framing classes and often donate their gallery space for local and non-profit events.
* Marin County’s Quezada Market includes three stores — one in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood, one on Rowland Avenue in Novato, and another in Napa County. Owner Fernando Quezada is known for his community-based, customer-oriented business acumen and his community leadership initiatives, such as starting Camara de Comercio, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in San Rafael.
* Café Flore is a neighborhood café and restaurant located in the Castro District of San Francisco. The successful business is committed to serving the local community and regularly donates its space for non-profit events. Café Flore hosts countless special events to raise funds and awareness for a myriad of wonderful causes.
* Mission Pie, a coffee shop in the Mission District of San Francisco, has a unique business model that contributes to the community, environment and economy. Mission Pie works with local high schools and community groups to offer apprenticeships to low-income and disadvantaged youth. It is also committed to protecting the environment through sustainable agricultural practices.
These six businesses exemplify the diverse and innovative companies that are working diligently every day to feed our economic engine. As a small business owner myself, I know that the ups and downs of our local and national economies have a tremendous effect on small businesses and also understand how important it is to adapt, sustain and work to recover from these fiscal impacts. I hope you will join me in saluting these six Small Businesses of the Year for our Senate District 3 and all the hardworking businesses throughout our state that are helping our state move forward.
Senator Mark Leno represents the Third Senate District of California, which includes portions of San Francisco and Sonoma Counties and all of Marin County. He can be reached via the web at www.sen.ca.gov/Leno, by phone in the San Francisco District Office at 415-557-1300 or San Rafael District Office at 415-479-6612, or by e-mail, Senator.Leno@senate.ca.gov.
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