Calling small businesses job creators that can help boost the economy, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams marked National Small Business Week on Wednesday by hosting a symposium and meeting with owners of a local Charlotte company.
Adams, a Greensboro Democrat, was elected last November to represent the 12th Congressional District. She is a member of the House small-business committee, and the ranking member of the small-business subcommittee on oversight.
Adams said she wanted to hear how Washington lawmakers can make things easier for small-business owners, and she also wanted to tout small businesses for creating jobs in her district.
Her networking and information-sharing session at Central Piedmont Community College Harris Center drew about 80 prospective owners and established ones looking to grow. They talked about challenges facing small businesses, which include getting financial support.
Then she visited the office of Anointed Flooring, an 11-year-old flooring business at 1014 S. Tryon St.
Married owners Camisha and Rodney Farris told Adams how they switched their business focus during the recession from small residential projects to larger government and commercial contracts.
Company president Camisha Farris told Adams the company has since landed large jobs, including tiling the N.C. Air National Guard base in advance of President Barack Obama’s arrival in Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. Anointed Flooring also worked with the Charlotte Housing Authority on the Renaissance community project in west Charlotte, located on the public housing site formerly called Boulevard Homes.
The Farrises told Adams about their experiences working on government projects with larger general contractors. Some are reluctant to mentor the smaller companies. Companies also have to deal with delayed payments.
“That's a good thing we need to do – ‘How to do business with the government,’” Adams said, referring to possible future sessions she could host. “Those are things we can certainly look at.”
Goals for the family business – which Camisha Farris said has grown 15 percent every year and makes about $850,000 in revenues – include consolidating their main office and warehouse space at one location, becoming a general contractor, and developing a global presence for their business.
“It’s a prayer walk in faith, every day we wake up,” Camisha Farris said.
Adams told them their story as small-business owners holds encouragement for others.
“You can get a job, work for somebody, but it’s nothing like working for yourself,” Adams said.
“I just want to express my appreciation. It takes a lot of courage to do it … Just having the courage to step out and do it is a big thing … I commend both of you.”